Mayor Liccardo cracks down on misconduct of SJPD officers, calls for random drug, alcohol testing

Dustin Dorsey Image
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Mayor calls for random drug, alcohol testing of SJPD officers
The City of San Jose and San Jose Police Department say they have had enough of police officers tarnishing the department's reputation.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The City of San Jose and the San Jose Police Department say they have had enough of police officers tarnishing the department's reputation and putting residents at risk.

SJPD officials say they hold their officers to the highest standard.

But, with three separate investigations ongoing involving drug use, alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct, Chief Anthony Mata is asking for more.

"When we took an oath, we did so because we believe in duty, honor and integrity," Chief Mata said. "Any officer that cannot stand behind that oath should not dawn this badge. I will not tolerate inappropriate behavior or criminal conduct."

VIDEO: Family responds to rookie SJ officer's fentanyl overdose death: 'Shocked and heartbroken'

DeJon Packer, a rookie San Jose police officer who died at his Milpitas home in March passed from "fentanyl toxicity," the medical examiner said.

Chief Mata, SJPD Assistant Chief Paul Joseph and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo shared their anger and disappointment in the three officers' behavior that the mayor described as offensive and dangerous.

Toxicology reports showed officer DeJon Packer died of fentanyl overdose. How this happened is still unclear, according to police.

Another officer is on leave after he was accused of sexual misconduct while on duty and it is still under investigation.

And just one week ago today, an officer showed up to the Brandon Cuellar kidnapping investigation drunk, he also remains on leave.

RELATED: Victim speaks exclusively to I-Team after SJ police officer charged with excessive force

"To all who wear a uniform, wear a badge or represent this profession in an un-sullied manner, I apologize," Chief Mata said. "I also apologize to the family of three-month-old Brandon Cuellar."

To ensure accountability going forward, Mayor Liccardo is proposing expanded random drug and alcohol testing for the entire department.

He says the limited extent to test is controlled by a contract from the San Jose Police Officers Association set to expire in June.

The mayor wants broader testing to be part of the new contract negotiations.

"We've got plenty of challenges in the city and we need to do everything we can to ensure that we're addressing the very serious problems that our residents are encountering every day," Mayor Liccardo said. "We don't need to be creating more. So it's my intention to ensure that this never happens again."

SJPD says they have extensive mental health and substance abuse resources for officers and plan on expanding those programs as well as making them easier to access.

Now Streaming 24/7 Click Here

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live