Ex-San Jose Police Chiefs Critical of Reed Administration

San Jose is facing a major crossroad and public safety is in jeopardy, at least that’s what four former SJPD chiefs said Thursday.

They’re speaking out against the current administration and fear crime rates will go up.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed says the city continues to work to hire and retain more police officers, but the four former police chiefs are saying, unless there are major changes, officers will continue to leave the department for other Bay Area cities.

Together, the four former chiefs – Rob Davis, Bill Lansdowne, Tom Wheatley and Chris Moore – have more than 100 year in law enforcement. The men sat down with NBC Bay Area’s Damian Trujillo Thursday morning to talk about the department they once led.

“Public safety is the absolute No. 1 priority of city government, and they failed at that process here in San Jose,” Lansdowne said.

“When we ask men and women to put their lives on the line – and we aren’t willing to support them if they are injured as result of the injury they suffer – it’s unheard of,” Davis said.

“The elephant in the room is we don’t have enough officers,” Moore said. “The good ones we have are leaving.”

San Jose has fewer officers now than it did a decade ago.

“They’re holding on, but I think a lot of them are leaving, going to other departments,” Wheatley said. “You can’t blame them.”

The chiefs said massive cuts and Measure B have put the city on a dangerous path.

Mayor Chuck Reed says money is tight, and there is no shortage of need, but he is working to hire and retain more cops.

“Despite having to work over time, they are working hard,” Reed said. “We appreciate that. The crime rates are improving over the last couple years.”

The mayoral election is only a few weeks away. These former chiefs are endorsing county supervisor Dave Cortese.

Councilman Sam Liccardo, who is also running for mayor, declined to be interviewed saying he wasn’t going to debate public safety with former chiefs. He credits the current chief for bring down crime in San Jose.

Overall crime rates were down in 2013, but violent crime is up 4 percent in city for the first half of 2014.

Damian Trujillo contributed to this report.

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