SJPD holds Vietnamese Citizens Academy

For 10 weeks, San Jose police officers will meet with the Vietnamese community to work on trust and understanding.

April 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The San Jose Police Department is working to win over its Vietnamese-speaking residents.

This was the first night of its Vietnamese Citizens Academy.

For 10 weeks, 30 Vietnamese-American residents will spend time getting to know police officers and how they enforce the law.

Many in the community have come to distrust the police because of some violent incidents, most recently the beating of a San Jose State college student and last May's shooting death of Daniel Pham -- a mentally ill man.

Pham's father, Vihn, says he hopes things will improve and that no more Vietnamese-Americans dies at the hands of police.

"To the extent we can reach out to those whose language isn't primarily English in any community, we educate them in what we do and we also get a chance to know them and their culture better," says San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis.

Davis says a similar academy held for Spanish-speaking citizens was a great success.