SAN JOSE, CA – The exodus of officers from the San Jose police force continues unabated. Four more officers quit this week saying they could no longer count on the department to care for them if they got injured on the job.
Under Measure B, the pension reform plan, cops who get injured and are unable to work still get the disability benefits. The question is do those who get injured and can still get a desk job get those same benefits? The city says they do, but the police union says they don’t. The four cops that quit on Monday say there is just too much uncertainty to stick around.
“The last part of the disability changes, that Measure B, went into effect this week and for many of our officers, that was the last straw,” Det. James Gonzales, with the San Jose Police Officers Association, said.
The police union says that under the pension reform Measure B, injured Officers who can still work could be left without a job or a pension, under its new retirement policies.
Hardin is one of the four who just left the force. The 12-year veteran says the uncertainty of these changes left him with no choice but to quit.
“I’ve been severely hurt in the line of duty with the police department. And at that time, they took care of me, where I had to learn how to walk again. If that happened again, I’m not sure that would take place,” Former San Jose Police Det Chris Hardin said.
The tough pension reform ballot measure was approved by voters two years ago over the opposition of officers. The union said the retirement provisions killed the safety net for those who get injured in the line of duty. But city councilmembers have now voted to ease the disability rules to stop the exodus of cops from the city.
“If they can still work, then we’ll insure they’ll have a job and the council has voted as a majority to ensure they will continue to get paid whatever they would have been paid,” San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo.
But the mayor says there is a catch.
“That of course is subject to negotiations with our police union and they are resisting our efforts to a guaranteed salary to our injured workers, but I think it will eventually prevail,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said.
The battle between city hall and the police union continues. In the meantime, some 180 officers will be eligible to retire soon.