More allegations against SJPD filed in 2021 than 5 years prior, audit finds

Also, the annual year end report uncovered 333 complaints were made last year - up 24% from 2020.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2022
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A 144-page document details how the San Jose Police Department has handled civilian complaints and allegations against its officers.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A 144-page document is detailing how the San Jose Police Department (SJPD) has handled civilian complaints and allegations against its officers.

The city's Independent Police Auditor (IPA) presented 2021 data to city councilmembers on Tuesday. The annual Year End Report uncovered 333 complaints were made last year - up 24% from 2020.

According to the report, 1,000 distinct allegations. Members of the public filed more allegations in 2021 than in any of the five years prior.

There were also 122 allegations of bias-based policing. However, the department found them all to be unsustained. This was confirmed by the IPA.

Residents who spoke publicly in reaction to the findings were far from convinced.

"I have a hard time believing that so many complaints from the public are completely unfounded," one residents said. "And these numbers just don't make sense to me."

The IPA listed 10 policy recommendations which included:

  1. The Department should examine and provide guidance on police-community communications
  2. The department should provide clear direction to address retaliation
  3. Police officers should provide important information during a traffic stop
  4. The department should expand avoiding vehicle tows by placing an affirmative duty on officers to provide options to drivers
  5. The department should provide more thorough guidance and training on vehicle searches
  6. The duty manual should provide guidance on when officers may enter cars to search for recreational marijuana
  7. The duty manual should provide guidance on when officers engage in foot pursuits
  8. The duty manual should provide guidance on handcuffing detainees
  9. The duty manual and the IA Unit guidelines should document the tolling process
  10. Changes should be made to the IA-IPA process

RELATED: CA audit examines bias within SJPD, other law enforcement agencies

On the topic of retaliation, IPA Shivaun Nurre explained, "Last year, there were some cases in which we believe there was retaliation in the field during an encounter in the field. And when the department looked at it, they said, 'Well, we don't have a duty manual that addresses this.'"

"You know, for me, it would be just common sense," she continued. "But if we need to do the manual to address retaliation, then that's a reason to put another section in the duty manual."

IPA oversight now includes review of Department Initiated Investigations (DII).

Essentially, these are internal investigations which SJPD said are often based on allegations that come directly from members of the department.

Jaime Jimenez, the former commander of SJPD's Internal Affairs unit said, "Officers with one to three years of experience are most likely to be subjected to DII, followed by officers with 21 to 30 years of experience."

He described how the department monitors its own data with regard to complaints, and presented those findings in front of council.

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

It's something retired Superior Court Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell has been critical about. Cordell also served as Independent Police Auditor for the City of San Jose over a span of five years, until 2015. She wasn't available to comment on camera on Tuesday.

However, she emphasized a point made back in May on the same subject of SJPD's internal investigations.

"No law enforcement agency should investigate itself," Cordell told ABC7 News, during a May interview. "We need outside eyes independent people looking at these complaints, so they can be objectively investigated and reviewed."

A state audit released earlier this year examined five police departments, including San Jose. It found each had not done enough to prevent biased behavior.

RELATED: SJPD officer accused of sexual misconduct while responding to call, report says

When asked about what proactive measures the department is taking on a per officer basis, SJPD Chief Anthony Mata said PD is developing an "early warning system," dependent on data.

"Calls for service, arrests, complaints, things of that nature," the chief answered. "To identify at the officer level, officer performance."

To read the full IPA annual report, click here.

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