SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has urged the San Jose City Council to move forward on plans to enable investigations of San Jose PD officers by an outside agency. The proposal is in keeping with an independent consultant’s report on changes to the existing SJPD oversight model.

This would be the first time in the city’s history that independent investigation of some police misconduct cases would be allowed to be investigated independently, according to a news release from Mayor Liccardo’s office. The mayor’s proposal would allow the San Jose Independent Police Auditor (IPA) investigators to access investigative tools that include better access to digital evidence, SJPD records and subpoena authority, according to the news release.

The current investigative model puts all responsibility within the department.

“SJPD has the finest police officers in the country.  Yet it doesn’t matter how good our police department is; we’re past the point where Americans will simply believe that the police should police themselves,” said San José Mayor Liccardo. “Police misconduct simply is not a matter of ‘internal affairs,” Liccardo continued. 

“A single act can have very profound impacts on our public, and to build our community’s trust, we must take these initial steps toward more independent investigation of police misconduct.”

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The oversight proposal initially appeared as part of the mayor’s 9-point police reform plan following the death of George Floyd, announced in the summer of 2020. A memorandum was co-authored in August, 2020 with Vice Mayor Jones and Councilmembers Carrasco and Diep.

Officers with SJPD have been involved in some high-profile missteps in the past year, including an officer who was drunk at the scene of the investigation into the baby Brandon kidnapping, an officer who masturbated in front of female crime victims, and an officer who offered an informant a meth pipe in exchange for information.

Recently, a new digital transparency tool was launched to help improve transparency and accountability for SJPD officers. The tool is a web portal that allows the public to search and access the auditor’s records on San Jose Police Department officers from 2014-2020. Officers’ personnel records and information were previously exempt from disclosure, except by motion in a criminal, civil, or administrative action.