SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — With the pandemic fueling an increase in harassment, racism and violence towards the Asian American Pacific Island (AAPI) communities, San Jose leaders were quick to respond. 

Last April, San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez urged the City Council to adopt a resolution condemning xenophobia against the AAPI community stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. 

The Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center reported hate crime reports spiked from 3,795 to 6,6603 just in March 2021 alone. 

Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors recently adopted a resolution that requires all law enforcement officers working in the county to take additional hate crime prevention training. 

The City of San Jose is now backing the county’s efforts. 

“San Jose is going to be the first city in the county to support this effort to align our POST training with the provision of AB 57 ensuring that all of our law enforcement officers have the most up-to-date training on hate crimes,” said Councilmember Maya Esparza who co-chairs the county’s Hate Crime Task Force. 

“This is an important step in aligning our efforts to combat hate crimes within the county.”

Assembly Bill 57, introduced by California Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel, would mandate POST hate crime training for all officers. 

The city will now require all officers to take the POST-learning-portal course “Hate Crimes: Identification and Investigation,” beginning with officers who have not taken any version of the course. 

“This is an important step, San Jose frankly, already does a lot of these things in terms of training,” said Esparza.

“There are many cities in our county that don’t offer that training to that extent or don’t track hate crimes, and so this is an effort to align all the cities within the county.”

Santa Clara County reports it has experienced an overall rise in reported hate crimes since 2015 and currently continues to study and recommend longer-term plans to combat such crimes.

In addition to more police training to combat hate crimes, the city will:

  • Conduct a solidarity, art-based campaign that promotes “Stop AAPI Hate”, similar to the Black Lives Matter Banner Project.
  • Annual focused outreach to AAPI concentrated Businesses Districts such as the Lion Plaza and Japantown to offer SJPD’s Crime Prevention education and services to any interested business owners.
  • Evaluate the City’s communications to ensure that all multilingual communications targeting AAPI communities are culturally competent;
  • Asses what hurdles city departments may encounter in regards to translation services including for written material.
  • Prioritize implementation of the local government provisions with the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act as part of the 2021 Legislative Priorities and prioritize efforts to compete for federal and state grants that result from the legislation.
  • Return to the Public Safety, Finance, and Strategic Services (PSFSS) committee in six months with a report on the status and outcomes of the recommended strategies. Subsequently, report back to PSFSS annually.