San Jose taxpayers have doled out a minimum of $200,000 per 12 months to maintain Mayor Sam Liccardo protected, a follow that started after San Francisco Mayor George Moscone was killed at Metropolis Corridor greater than 4 many years in the past.
Liccardo, who phrases out this 12 months, is a part of a protracted line of San Jose mayors with a safety element. At the least one San Jose police officer tails him when he attends conferences and hosts information conferences. In some circumstances, the officer additionally tags alongside when the mayor travels out of state on metropolis enterprise.
San Jose has paid greater than $789,000 between 2019 and this August for Liccardo’s safety, a overview by San José Highlight discovered. No different metropolis councilmembers have safety particulars, in accordance with the division.
Metropolis knowledge reveals SJPD Officer Tak Odama, who labored as Liccardo’s safety element between 2019 and 2021, made between $203,844 and $237,731 a 12 months in base wage and extra time pay. Odama additionally traveled with Liccardo to Washington, D.C. twice—in 2020 for a U.S. Convention of Mayors journey and final 12 months when Liccardo met with President Joe Biden to debate gun violence. The 2 journeys for the mayor’s safety element value roughly $4,200, in accordance with data obtained by San José Highlight.
Town additionally paid $2,260 this 12 months to ship two officers with Liccardo when he went to Miami for a convention in March. Liccardo had police journey exterior of the town with him solely on these three journeys within the final three years, in accordance with data obtained by San José Highlight.
The mayor’s workplace deferred inquiries to the police division on why Liccardo wanted officers with him on these journeys.
Liccardo traveled with out his safety on many different events. Officers didn’t escort the mayor on an all-expense-paid journey to France in July, his Ohio journey for a Convention of Mayors assembly and his Washington, D.C. journey final November.
Town declined to offer the identify of Liccardo’s present safety element, citing security causes. San Jose has paid the unidentified officer greater than $135,000 for his work via August of this 12 months.
The decades-long follow of police defending San Jose’s mayors started within the late Nineteen Seventies after Moscone was assassinated in neighboring San Francisco, stated former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales. He served from 1999 to 2006.
“After I started as mayor in January 1999, there was (an) officer assigned to me,” Gonzales informed San José Highlight. “That individual, in session with the police, would decide when and the way safety can be offered.”
Whereas some would possibly balk on the value to taxpayers, elected officers have confronted rising threats in recent times.
Former Los Gatos Mayor Marico Sayoc endured private assaults from residents at public conferences, prompting two state legislators to demand everlasting modifications to public assembly guidelines. San Jose Councilmember Dev Davis was focused earlier this 12 months as an explosive gadget was discovered close to her residence.
“We dwell in a really totally different world today (the place) violence towards elected officers has elevated,” Gonzales stated.
The mayor’s workplace stated the police division decides when and the way usually to make use of the mayor’s safety. SJPD spokesperson Christian Camarillo declined to remark, together with about why officers accompanied the mayor on solely sure journeys exterior of San Jose.
“We won’t be sharing particulars relating to when, why, or the place the mayor requires a safety element for apparent causes,” Camarillo informed San José Highlight. “Discussing ways and planning of dignitary safety isn’t prudent as a result of it could compromise his security.”
How San Jose stacks up
San Jose, a metropolis of 1 million residents, solely gives safety to its mayor. However San Diego—with a inhabitants of 1.4 million individuals—has a particular unit throughout the police division devoted to offering comparable safety to the mayor and its total metropolis council throughout public conferences and different occasions. Officers additionally accompany San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria on all out of state journey, metropolis spokesperson Rachel Laing informed San José Highlight. San Diego spent greater than $2.6 million on 12 officers within the unit final 12 months, in accordance with metropolis paperwork.
San Francisco spent a minimum of $2.6 million in 2020 to maintain Mayor London Breed protected, in accordance with information reviews. Its police division declined to offer monetary figures for the mayor’s safety in 2021 or this 12 months.
“The SFPD gives private safety for the mayor(s) and accompany (them) throughout public occasions all through the town,” police spokesperson Robert Rueca informed San José Highlight. “When the mayor travels past the town borders to conduct the duties of the workplace, we proceed to offer safety and collaborate with the native legislation enforcement jurisdiction to make sure protected passage for our mayor(s) wherever their work brings them.”
Spokespersons for Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti didn’t reply to inquiries about their practices.