San Jose looks to reform police department

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) – Following George Floyd’s death in May 2020 and downtown demonstrations in San Jose, Mayor Sam Liccardo unveiled a plan to reform the city’s police department.

Just last month, the city council voted to move forward with police reforms and approve the search for a consultant to assist with internal police investigations.

While the city and the police union are still in negotiations right now, KRON4 learned that the process may take a little longer than originally expected.

“Here in San Jose we heard very clearly and I think our police department heard clearly the demands for change from the community so we’ve been working very hard on a set of reforms and with a new chief in place we’re about to embark on a whole new effort with the community,”

Mayor Sam Liccardo says the city of San Jose is making some progress on police reform plans unveiled last summer.

Following the death of George Floyd and demonstrations that followed in downtown San Jose where multiple bystanders complained about the police handling of the protests.

“In November we went to the voters as we’re required to expand the powers of the police auditor and her scope of review over police misconduct. We also approved for example procedures to release body cam footage rapidly when there’s an issue of great public interest but other reforms are going to take longer. The more meaty issues, for example moving investigations of police misconduct out of the police department, out of internal affairs into a separate agency,”

He says moving internal police misconduct probes out of the San Jose Police Department is something that requires negotiations with police officers, according to state law.

Last month, the city council voted to move forward in accepting bids from consultants through last Friday but councilmember Raul Peralez says they didn’t get the expected response.

“We do have a bid that has come back. Really we felt it was not sufficient and we’re gonna be going back out to look at seeing, quite frankly, I think the reason we’re not seeing many bids is because all across the country people are asking for this kind of analysis,”

The San Jose Police Officers Association is still in negotiations with the city and said on Tuesday, they’re unsure what the city is trying to fix.

They say they’ve seen no compelling evidence that the police department’s internal police affairs aren’t doing a great job with internal investigations.

“Particularly after the murder of George Floyd, we’re well past the moment in this country where Americans are going to accept the notion that police will be expected to police themselves. It doesn’t work that way with nearly any other institution in this country. We have independent investigatory authorities for a reason, as it should be also with police departments,”

As mentioned, the city only received one bid from consultants to assist with the internal investigations department, forcing them to broaden the search moving forward.

Mayor Liccardo says if they’re able to bring internal investigations out of the police department, he’s told that they’d be the first in the country to do so.

He says he’s hoping to make some announcement updates in the coming weeks but says it’s a process that could take a year or two to implement.

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