San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore, hired earlier this year, is trying to set a new tone in the department's troubled relations with some members of the community it polices. But he has a lot to overcome.
The department is facing two lawsuits related to excessive use of force and racial profiling; in 2009, a Mercury News investigation found that the department used excessive force in many cases in which no serious crime was involved; and other high-profile incidents involving use of force have inflamed community groups.
Today on KQED Radio at 5:30 p.m (listen live or to an archive), Cy Musiker talks with retired Judge LaDoris H. Cordell, the City of San Jose’s Independent Police Auditor, about her 2010 report, just released today. Cordell will present the report to the mayor and city council on May 10.
San Jose's Independent Police Auditor was established in 1993 and added to the city charter as a permanent city organ in 1996. It's self-described mission:
- to provide independent oversight of and instill confidence in the complaint
process through objective review of police misconduct investigations
- to conduct outreach to the San José community;
- to propose thoughtful policy recommendations to the City Council
- to strengthen the relationship between the San José Police Department and the community it serves.
Among the areas covered in the report: a statistical review of complaints filed by citizens against police; a review of allegations concerning police use of force; and recommendations and concerns. Among the recommendations made in 2010 were a reevaluation of taser policies and the establishment of a policy restricting involvement by officers in incidents in which they have a personal connection.
One finding of note for 2010: Out of 152 allegations of excessive use of force and 30 complaints of racial bias against officers, none were found to have merit by internal police department investigations.