Public Safety

“Keeping our community safe is the most critical responsilibility for elected officials. Over the past few years, our city has failed in its most fundamental duty to our residents. At every turn, I fought back against cuts to public safety, as well as, the misguided approach City Hall took towards stabilizing our work force finances. Due to those poor decisions, we have seen over a third of our police department leave San Jose for better opportunities. I am proud of working with our police officers and fire fighters to come to a compromise position that will save the city money by reducing costs and allow us the opportunity to rebuild a once great police force. I am honored to have the string support of public safety in my election and look forward to bringing resources from the state to our local public safety agencies.”

Ash's Supporters

Ash Kalra has earned the endorsement of the San Jose Police Officers Association, San Jose Fire Fighters Local 230 along with the California Highway Patrol, Santa Clara County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, and California Professional Firefighters.

 

Ash's Record

During the past 8 years, there is no one who has fought harder to keep our neighborhoods safe than Ash Kalra. Often times, due to those choosing politics over the people, Ash was on the political losing end of funding requests and strategies that could have helped local residents and businesses maintain a sense of security and protect their property.

Ash has always supported accomplishing pension reform by bringing all sides together.

The prior Mayor and Vice Mayor led a vicious attack against the public employees, most specifically our police and fire fighters. The ill-fated effort had three flaws. One, it demonized our public safety employees and other city workers and pushed one approach for reining in pensions to the voters. Secondly, the law showed the effort was clearly going to lose in court. Third, it delayed real savings that could have been achieved if a collaborative approach was chosen instead.

The political strategy was a dismal failure. It led to over a third of our police officers leaving the San Jose Police Department, most of them for other police departments in the region. It also led to slower fire department response times, an increase in burglaries to a decades long high and a current year pace for the highest homicide rate in a quarter century. Now, the city was just forced to declare a Public Safety Emergency in order to allow our Police Chief the flexibility to move even more of our investigative units to patrol.

​This was one of the most intensely analyzed and publicly debated issues in the city’s history. When Ash predicted we would see crime skyrocket and the ranks of our officers dwindle, the opposition claimed he was “fear-mongering”. The reality is that anyone who studied the issue with an eye towards maintaining our capacity to keep our community safe while addressing long-term debt would have come to the same conclusion as Ash: there was a better way than “my way or the highway.” Instead, Ash’s opponent chose politics over the people and ignored the pleas from the employees and concerns from legal scholars. We are all paying for that grave error in judgment.

Since there has been a new City Council over the past couple of years, Ash has worked closely with them and the Mayor to forge a compromise that will save the city $30 billion over the next 30 years by raising the retirement age on all employees and decreasing their overall benefit levels. The key is that it was a collaborative compromise, so, there is an opportunity to finally rebuild our department.

 

Ash Fought to Restore Services

As crime was on the rise and fire department response times increased, Ash made every effort to keep our neighborhoods safe:

  • Ash pushed to restore the SJPD burglary unit and the Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit

  • Ash tried to limit the number of fire engines shut down and the number of stations closed during the week, particularly in high volume areas.

  • Ash supported the Federal SAFER Grants that have helped the SJFD to hire over 100 fire fighters.

  • Ash pushed for dollars to be granted to neighborhoods in order for them to determine how they keep their communities safer as our police department lost officers. The strategies suggested included higher private security officer and providing alarms for residences.

  • Ash supported the expansion of Community Service Officers in order to assist patrol officers in their responsibilities regarding traffic control and evidence collection.

  • Due to Ash’s leadership, Council District 2 was the first in the city to get the newer, brighter LED street lighting to enhance neighborhood safety.

  • Ash has helped to host dozens of neighborhood watch crime prevention meetings in neighborhoods throughout the city.

  • Ash has more than doubled the number of active neighborhood associations throughout his Council District.

  • Ash has supported National Night Out Against Crime events throughout the city.

  • Ash supported the Fire Department's two-person squad vehicles to better respond to medical emergencies.

 

Ash Believes in Mutual Respect Between Law Enforcement and the Community

  • Over two and a half years ago, Ash pushed the city to implement body-worn cameras to protect the safety of residents and police officers. Over the summer, the program went fully operational.

  • Ash has supported the department’s efforts in leading the nation in the collection of demographic data on car stops and curb sitting.

  • Ash supported the Neighborhoods Commission and ACLU in establishing a drone policy that protects officers in the performance of their duties while protecting the privacy of the public.

  • Ash has supported mediation between residents who feel disrespected by police officers and the officers themselves in order to have both sides better understand one another.

  • Ash has supported a strong Independent Police Auditor who works well with the Police Chief and San Jose Police Officers Association in order to improve our department.

  • Ash has supported expanding training on biased based policing so our officers understand how to protect a diverse community like ours in a responsible manner.

 

Ash's Vision

  • At the state, given his great relationship with state law enforcement, Ash will seek to bring expertise on improving local law enforcement to our community.

  • Ash will fight for more resources and grants to improve the city’s ability to increase the ranks of the police department at a rapid pace.

  • Ash will continue work with the city of San Jose to support every effort to improve police and fire department response times.

  • As he has done in his District, Ash will work to increase the number of active neighborhood associations throughout the city.

  • Ash will work with CHP and Caltrans to better patrol and clean up state property that intersects the city throughout the district.

  • Ash will work on a comprehensive plan with Cal Fire to prepare for continued heat waves in the years to come to reduce the risk of wildfire damage.

  • ​Ash will continue to be a leader who brings the community together and will do so in order to improve upon police/community relations in San Jose.