SJPD's new chief reviews racial profiling tactics

February 22, 2011 12:14:17 PM PST
The San Jose police chief's new policy on racial profiling is winning widespread praise from minority groups who have felt targeted by officers in the past, and from the person whose idea triggered the change.

"I think this is a major accomplishment. This office has been pushing for this change for quite awhile, and to see it realized with a new police chief who has only been in office a matter of weeks is huge," independent police auditor Ladoris Cordell said.

Cordell has spent nine months in this job worrying about what happens to people of color after they are pulled over or stopped by a San Jose police officer. As the independent police auditor, she hears the complaints, but the department's policy only focused on why the officer pulled someone over -- not what happened next -- until now.

"It is important to have rules for law enforcement that say, these are the things you must not do when engaged with the public," Cordell said.

Cordell had tried to get the former police chief to change the policy. Then she approached the new chief Chris Moore, who got it done.

"I took over at a time when there was a lot of distrust in the community and the community raised a number of concerns around racial profiling and issues of disproportioned treatment," Moore said.

Activists like Richard Kanda of the Asian Law Alliance describe the relationship between minorities and San Jose police as strained, but he thinks relations will improve under this new chief, especially considering this policy change.

"I think it actually is a big deal, it sends a message to community if you think you are victim of racial profiling, that now there will be more investigations into the matter," Kanda said.

Moore said he has a lot on his plate, but he will look for steps to try to heal relations between police officers and the people they serve.


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