San Jose

South Bay Law Enforcement Push New Safety Measures in Wake of Dallas, Baton Rouge Police Shootings

Blue ribbons and signs of support put up by civilians greeted San Jose police officers as they showed up to work on Monday.

The new decorations are one of the more welcome changes at police headquarters since the Baton Rouge and Dallas police shootings.

San Jose police are not talking publicly about all of the new safety measures, but at this point the biggest change remains the option that cops can go out in two-officer units if they choose.

Officials acknowledge the two-officer units can help create a safer situation and improve response time, but there are drawbacks on an understaffed forced.

"We're not going to have that many patrol cars out, so the visibility portion of it will be a factor I guess," San Jose police spokesman Albert Morales said.

The recent ramp up and heightened awareness has increased pressure on city leaders to address the staffing problem. Many groups, including the police union, calling for less talk and more action.

"That is why we are so laser-focused right now on a hiring strategy that we will be able to finally launch when we get voter approval on a pension reform settlement," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

Meanwhile, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office is also dealing with a staffing shortage. But, unlike San Jose police, the sheriff's office is not hurting in the number of street patrol officers it can deploy.

"It's not a burden at all. We keep the same staffing," said Sgt. James Jensen, sheriff's office spokesman. "Normally two deputies respond to the same call anyway. So now they're in the same vehicle right away."

The top brass at both agencies are still conducting ongoing meetings to assess any other changes. As one officer put it, heightened awareness is now standard operating procedure.

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