SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In San Jose, how certain investigations of police misconduct cases are reviewed could change.
Residents have the opportunity to vote on police reform through Measure G — which would expand the authority of the Independent Police Auditor and more.
“The idea here is both to improve the accountability and transparency over the police department but also to be able to change the charter permanently so that we can continue to expand IPA authority in the future,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.
“If we can get this measure passed being able to go back to the negotiation table to be able to expand IPA authority to include all investigations, so that we are no longer relying on police to police themselves,”
“I think Americans have moved beyond the point where we simply can assume that if the police policed themselves we’ll all be fine … we want independent investigation.”
Measure G was brought forward by San Jose City Council as the city dealt with growing tensions over police brutality and their practices.
The measure asks voters to approve the three following changes to the city’s charter:
- Authorize City Council to expand the authority of the IPA without requiring a public vote.
- Change the size of the city’s planning commission from seven to 11 members.
- Allow City Council to adjust the timelines for redistricting when results from the Census count are late.
Under the measure the IPA would be allowed to review certain investigations that were initiated by the police department against its own officers.
As it stands, the role of the IPA allows for reviews of complaints from the public against police officers to ensure the investigation was objective and fair.
“In 1993 we were put into the city ordinance, in 1996 the voters moved us into the charter, but ever since that time we’ve been pretty much stuck in an auditor model of oversight having limited authority and power,” said Shivaun Nurre, San Jose’s Independent Police Auditor.
If passed, City Council would mandate that the IPA review every officer use-of-force incident resulting in severe bodily injury or death.
In addition, the measure would give the IPA border access to vital information needed to conduct objective and fair investigations.
“On the horizon there are even more reforms that would expand our office further,” said Nurre.
“The mayor has put out a proposal and the City Council is moving it forward to do a lot of reform work including expanding our authority, so that our office investigates police officers,”
“Currently the internal affairs department staffed by police officers investigates its own.”
Changes to the Planning Commission
One of the city’s most influential commissions would also be expanded to create diverse leadership.
For years, the Planning Commision has been led by white representatives from some of the city’s most prominent neighborhoods.
If passed — Measure G would appoint one member from each City Council District and one “at-large” member.
“Measure G focuses on ensuring that we have a more inclusive city government in our Planning Commission and one that is more reflective of the best information that we have from our census to make sure that everyone is well represented in redistricting,” said Liccardo.
San Jose residents have until Nov. 3 to vote by mail or in-person.
To find a voting center near you, click here.
To find a ballot drop off , click here.