SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Police in San Jose are turning to civilians to ease some of their workload, as they try to address ongoing staffing shortages in the department.
The city began training a 25-person battalion of civilian community service officers on Tuesday. The San Jose Mercury News reports that the civilians will be taught to respond to non-urgent burglary and vehicle theft calls and write reports, among other duties.
Police Chief Larry Esquivel said the program will free up patrol officers to conduct more proactive police work.
The civilian officers will not respond to any calls that include an active suspect and will be armed only with pepper spray.
The training program comes as the city's police ranks have shrunk from more than 1,400 in 2008 to just over 1,000 now.
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