Police Union Contender Calls it Quits

The San Jose Police Department exodus continues unabated, with SJPD officer and former police union presidential candidate Jon Baker tallying the total at 18 resignations just this month. The Police Officers Association pegs the number at 23. Surprisingly, Baker is one of those resignations, as he will transfer to the Colma PD and will start there next week. The move comes as a shock considering that as far back as five weeks ago Baker attempted to unseat Jim Unland, president of the POA, in a union vote. Unland has had few, if any, real victories since taking over the POA last year, but he easily retained his seat, despite efforts by former POA prez Bobby Lopez to influence the election in Baker’s favor. In a brief chat, Baker said he didn’t want to talk about the past, but he insisted that his interest in leaving SJPD—just one calendar page after he said he’d stick with the force another 16 years—came only after the election. “It just didn’t work out,” Baker said. His opponents from the election agree, but for different reasons. Had Baker been elected president of the POA, they argue, Lopez could have applied for reinstatement to the union. (Lopez now runs the Fraternal Order of Police union.) With unilateral power, Baker could have then appointed Lopez back on the POA’s board of directors. Negotiations are in the works for SJPD officers to receive a retention bonus in the coming weeks, and Unland backers believe that Lopez might have tried to take credit for the back pay on his way to regaining a role in union leadership. Lopez called the conspiracy theory “laughable.” He added: “They concentrate too much on me and not enough on the welfare of their members.” Good to see everything is back to normal after the election.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

12 Comments

  1. If 23 just this month seems high, just wait. There are easily probably another 100-200 officers on their ways out of here for other departments or the private sector within the next few months, and that doesn’t even count retirements.

  2. What’s laughable is a retention bonus…..Too little too late.  The Great Jedi Purge continues…..stay crappy San Jose

  3. But this is what the “majority” voted for! LOL….. The city should be able to sell off a couple hundred police cars as well. If not they will be sitting idle as there are a lot less cops patrolling. Good luck San Jose!

  4. Cops can’t get off this sinking ship fast enough!  Thanks Chuck.  How fast we went from the safest large city to the next Oakland.  Sure glad you gave the IPA a nice fat raise for doing nothing.

  5. Retention pay is not going to stop the bleeding because the issue goes beyond that. The administration has damaged the entire workforce, to include ALL employees. Showing favoritism to some unions and not others will also do much more damage. If the administration is going to try to work things out with some unions, they need to treat them ALL fairly. Favoritism breeds animosity. They have simply made a mess of things.

  6. I don’t know how there can be a crisis at the SJPD (or anywhere else in the city) given the mayor’s surprising silence on the subject. I mean, isn’t Chuck Reed this city’s official Chicken Little, so eager to shout “the sky-is-falling” that he’s even stooped to gross exaggeration? What possible reason could he, Mr. $650 million, have for passing up the chance to alert the public to a real crisis? Why isn’t he huckstering on radio and TV like he was back when he had a pension lie to sell? Doesn’t he care about safe streets?

    Oh, you say it’s because, for all his heroic posturing and grand schemes (SJ A’s), it is now clear that his signature accomplishment as mayor of San Jose is going to be the complete destruction of its outstanding police department, the credit for which which he is most humbly dodging? Oh, I don’t know about that. Why would he dodge credit for something that was the inevitable product of his policies, statements, and actions? The man was warned. You say he didn’t mean for it to happen? Nonsense! He was told by the people in the know—the cops themselves. What’s that? You say his intention was to destroy the police officers association, not the department? I find that hard to believe. Anyone who knows anything about SJPD knows that it was the SJPOA that turned the once sleepy little department into a professional police agency; that it was the association that pressed for hiring standards, sued for proper equipment, and lobbied for training, not anyone who ever answered directly to city hall. The SJPOA has always been the heart and soul of the SJPD; wound it and the police department bleeds.

    What! Now you claim Chuck Reed didn’t really know anything about SJPD? Incredible… but what about his public safety advisor? Certainly Mr. Salcido could’ve told him? No? What do you mean Salcido doesn’t know anything about SJPD? Didn’t he work there? What? You say he was hired as a rookie decades ago but didn’t make the cut. So how does someone like that get a job telling the mayor how to manage the police department that rejected him? Huh? A political payoff? Who’s Victor Ajlouny?

    I don’t know; this doesn’t sound very transparent to me.

  7. Why is everyone leaving?  If the IPA was given a raise, then that must…MUST…mean that raises are next for everyone else.  Right, Council?  RIGHT?!

  8. It isn’t just Ofcr. Baker who’s left. 29 other officers over the course of the last 60 days have left, and the resignations have occurred at every level of rank, which was largely unheard of before Measure B. If this rate of attrition, coupled with regular retirements, continues, San Jose will not be able to hire enough new recruits to offset attrition. This is what is presently going on. For the record, the loss of something on the order of 200 officers represents a loss of about $34 million. The cost to train those 44 recruits to get to the point of being solo beat officers is almost another $7.5 million. Add that to the cost of litigating a losing battle to defend Measure B and you have to ask: “Where are the savings Measure B promised and of which Chuck Reed keeps speaking?”

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