The San Jose Police Department struck a game-changing deal with city leaders Tuesday that the police chief says will help him rebuild the force serving the 10th largest city in the nation.
After four years of stagnation, highlighted by the departure of nearly 500 officers, city leaders approved a new contract that will allow the department to add about 200 officers, a boost that Chief Eddie Garcia says gives him a great new recruitment strategy.
Officer Leeann Alfonzo, for one, is opening a new door on her career after leaving the department a year and a half ago.
"It's time for us to rebuild such a fantastic organization," Alfonzo said. "I've reached out to people who have left to please, please come back here."
If more departed officers like Alfonzo decide to come back, they'll be seeing wage increases and a pension bonus.
"No one has been more frustrated in providing our residents with the service they deserve than the officers that proudly wear this uniform," Garcia said.
The new deal also calls for disability protection, along with vested retirement benefits for returning officers.
"We are working to rebuild a police department that has lost hundreds of officers, and is the most thinly staffed police department in the country," Mayor Sam Liccardo said.
"It's such a great day for San Jose PD," Alfonzo said.