San Jose Police Adding Community Officers to Respond to Low Priority Calls

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SAN JOSE — The San Jose Police Department has debuted an academy to train the first class of community service officers to answer non-violent police reports for sworn officers, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The 25 people selected for the program have started a five-week instruction program at the Evergreen Police Academy in San Jose and will then serve three weeks of field training, police Sgt. Heather Randol said.

The officers will not have the authority to make arrests or give citations, but will respond to lower-priority, non-violent reports to give sworn police officers more time to answer emergency calls and other enforcement duties, Randol said.

The community officers, or CSOs, will answer cold calls for non-violent crimes when there is no suspect on the scene or suspect information available, such as burglary, theft, vandalism, non-injury traffic collisions, missing persons, road hazards and crowd and traffic control duties.

The CSOs will work two shifts at police substations Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and be divided evenly among the department’s four patrol divisions.

The Police Department at first considered more than 800 applicants for the program, had each take a written test prior to an interview and then selected 124 candidates from the group.

The department chose the final 25 applicants for the academy after conducting extensive background checks on the candidates, according to Randol.

(Copyright 2014, The Associated Press, All rights reserved.)

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