San Jose police have a potential new solution to staffing issues within the department.
NBC Bay Area recently reported about staffing levels at the department and the growing concern that officers have been pushed into mandatory overtime just to make sure there are enough officers on the street, resulting in slumping moral and officers who increasingly say they’re burning out.
In hopes of eliminating the mandatory overtime, the department is putting 17 additional patrol cars on the streets per day. The goal is to staff the overtime cars with officers who volunteer for extra hours on their scheduled days off, leaning on those who want the extra money to help those who need a break.
“If we plug in someone with an overtime shift, they can plan it, they can anticipate it, like, ‘Hey, I’m going to work 10 hours on my day off,’” Sgt. Christian Camarillo said. “We prefer that than to have to hold somebody over who didn’t necessarily plan on working a 16-17 hour day.”
The hope is this will be a temporary fix until more officers come through the academy and complete their probationary period. But with recruitment numbers low nationwide, the overtime car model might need to stick around for some time.
Staffing levels were so low this past weekend that the department ordered 36 officers to work overtime. The weekend before, it was 52 officers.
“Someone that’s working day shift that’s supposed to get off at 4:30 p.m. may be required to stay until 9:30,” Camarillo said. “That person has to come back and still work their day shift the next day as well.”
Beat cops told NBC Bay Area that the mandatory overtime is leading to exhaustion and burnout.
That’s the last thing the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association wants to hear.
“When we have an officer coming out, we want them to be well-rested, alert, to be able to also be empathetic of what’s going on,” Hillsdale Neighborhood Association President Gia Vega said.
Vega said crime and public safety are the top concerns in her community. She doesn’t want police burnout or staffing struggles to make matters worse, especially in crime-ridden communities.
“When it’s concentrated in a certain pocket of San Jose and you just know that people around you are being affected, it’s insulting, it’s upsetting,” Vega said.
Source: NBC Bay Area
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