San Jose City Manager Debra Figone decided last week to end the suspense and remove “acting” from Larry Esquivel’s title as police chief, setting up a dramatic showdown. Not between cops and City Hall, though. An arsenal of memos over how to keep graduates of the police academy from jumping ship were fired off Tuesday. Just last week, it was widely reported that up to 17 cadets are taking their talents to different law enforcement agencies, leaving the city out about $2.9 million in training costs. On one side of the memo melee stands Sam Liccardo, armed with what he calls a “carrot and a stick.” The carrot, in the form of a retention bonus and pay increases over two consecutive years, can attract young cadets to the department, he says, while the city can also reserve the option to whack young officers who try to leave. Liccardo’s proposal would lead the city to create a nonprofit to dole out no-interest loans for training costs, with the city paying the principal balance over a three- to five-year period, as long as cadets stick in San Jose. Meanwhile, fellow mayoral contender and Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen has teamed up with Councilman Johnny Khamis to a create a “first five” initiative, which would allow the five fastest cadets to run for the hills before the hounds are unleashed. Just kidding. Nguyen and Khamis’ proposal would force cadets who leave early to pay a percentage of their training costs, with each year dropping that percentage until its reaches zero at year five. Regardless, the Police Officers Association and union president Jim Unland have vowed to continue encouraging SJPD officers to leave for greener pastures until a disability clause is changed in the city charter. So, basically, congrats on the job, Larry!