San Jose Community Service Officer program is receiving a boost after the city council approved spending $3 million to hire 24 more officers.
The city launched the program last September with 28 community service officers, or CSOs. The officers do not carry weapons and are unable to make arrests, but in the past 10 months they have taken over the initial investigation into many burglaries.
"We're there making uniformed officers available to the public for high priority calls," said Chuck Hill, a community service officer.
James Gonzales, who serves as the San Jose Police Officers Association vice president, questions the council's decision to hire more CSOs.
"We are approaching a time when we need to rely on other outside agencies for help," Gonzales said. "The CSOs are misdirected. They should have gone to pay our officers as competitively as possible to get them to stop leaving here and to other cities."
Mayor Sam Liccardo said the CSO budget is a fraction of the $280 million the city has already approved to pay for benefits for San Jose police officers.
"Whether you have 950 officers or 1,400, we still don't have enough officers to respond to all the calls," Liccardo said. "So we still need community service officers to get to the calls officers can't get to."