A cadet is leaving the San Jose Police Department a day after graduating from its academy.
Barjinder Singh, who was one of 19 cadets to graduate Friday from the SJPD's police academy, will be joining the Hayward Police Department.
The news has left top brass at SJPD and city leaders disappointed.
"We have no desire to be training Hayward's finest," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. "Residents should be mad. It's simply not fair for our residents to be paying taxes to support the education and training of someone who is going to take that training and go to another department.
San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra also said he is disappointed, but not shocked to hear of the cadet leaving. Past efforts to encourage, if not force cadets to stay on the force for a few years after graduation have been unsuccessful.
"We know that this has been an ongoing problem," Kalra said. "And we know that even with new recruits we're always at risk of losing them to other departments that are paying better and giving benefits and disability."
Liccardo hopes to include some language to address the issue in the city's current labor negotiations with the police union.
"To reach an agreement on a mechanism that ensures that officers we train will serve," Liccardo said.
Hayward Police Chief Diane Urban, a former assistant chief in San Jose, on Wednesday confirmed the new hire to NBC Bay Area and released the following statement:
The Hayward Police Department does not specifically reach out to any San Jose Academy trainee’s. Barjinder Singh was previously in our hiring process before starting the San Jose academy and he reached out to our Personnel and Training Administrator to ask he could resume the hiring process with us. In fact all of the San Jose Academy graduates we hired initiated the contact with us expressing a desire to join the Hayward Police Department.
I have a long-standing personal connection to San Jose PD and spent 26 years giving back to the community. I have a deep affection and appreciation for the men and women of that organization and know from personal experience that SJPD turns out some of the top police officers that can be found in this country.
Study after study show that people don’t leave their jobs for money; that is not the primary factor. It is more often a combination of feeling underappreciated and undervalued. After nearly four years of dysfunctional City government under former Mayor Chuck Reed coupled with and financial complexities, some of the best and the brightest have left SJPD to find their future with organizations, cities, counties, and communities that truly appreciate those who serve in public safety.
As we both know, it’s not what you say it is how you say it, and Chuck Reed did not say it well, was not collaborative, and in fact, was exceptionally autocratic and bull-headed in his approach. He was hell-bent on having things forced down the San Jose Police Officer’s Association’s throat…no compromise, no time to digest, and no middle ground.
I stood in briefing as the Assistant Chief of Police when he told our midnight staff during briefing that “they fed at the public trough.” Reed addressed our police officers with an arrogance that was both shocking and insanely derogatory.
I sat in a high-level retirement actuarial meeting in February 2009’ish where the idea of bringing new public safety officers on as Tier 2 employees was discussed and the gentleman doing the presentation advised the attendee’s consisting of the Mayor and Councilmembers that it would take a few years to actually see the savings since so many officers were already working under the 3% at 50years tier. Sam Licarrdo said, “any way we can lay all of the officers off and bring them all back Tier 2 now?” It was said tongue in cheek and with a nervous laugh at the end.
I will never forget that day. In a way, that is almost what was accomplished by the mistreatment of the SJPD employees…they have lost hundreds and hundreds of people, not just to other organizations, but to retirement…those were eligible left because the future was dismal. Arguably, many would have stayed on past becoming 50 years old as they were not ready to retire and had so much left to give. In fact, many of those that retired are working in other law enforcement agencies today!
Bottom line, the Hayward community loves its public safety officers, both police and fire. They show it time and time again. The Hayward community passed Measure C just this past June and along with a new library, their top request was for more police officers and services.
The job is hard enough with a supportive community and a cohesive Mayor and Council and an amazing City Manager (Fran David) and support team at City Hall….who would want to work in a community where the Mayor via radio and television and new articles bashes the police department at every turn? Officers here in Hayward feel loved and supported by the community and their supervisors, make a great salary, have real crime to fight, and have one of the best benefits package available to law enforcement. It is a win/win for high quality, hard-working officers to want to serve.