SAN JOSE, California (KRON) – As cities across the country face the challenge of addressing police misconduct, the City of San Jose continues to seek ways to improve the relationship between its police department and residents.
The city’s Independent Police Auditor Office, designed to strengthen the relationship between the San Jose Police Department and the community it serves, has changed significantly over the past year.
After the death of George Floyd, the protest in San Jose turns violent
“In late May, early June, when we rioted downtown and there was a lot of police behavior that worried many people, we were inundated with complaints,” said Shivaun Nurre, independent police auditor for the city of San Jose.
“We had maybe 1,200 complaints.”
Last July, the IPA was instructed to prepare a special report on the amount and nature of the complaints the IPA received during the period of the riot and the police response from May 29th to June 30th.
The report found that over 1,000 people contacted the IPA office about interactions between police and protesters.
Courtesy of the City of San Jose, Independent Police Auditor
“A lot of them were duplicates so I’m not saying we need to investigate 1,200 complaints, but we have a few,” said Nurre.
“That has also raised our profile in the community and so we have more requests for more interviews, for more public relations, and at the same time we have been asked by the city council to do a whole range of things. ”
San Jose Measure G Approved
In November, after more than 77% of voters passed Measure G, the IPA’s powers were expanded, with the aim of increasing police transparency and accountability as part of Mayor Sam Liccardo’s 9-point police reform plan.
Under the measure, the IPA could review certain investigations launched by the police against its own officers.
Earlier this month, Nurre was reinstated to serve another four-year term as an IPA.
“The city council has shown confidence that I can move forward and have my own four-year term. I am very glad that they trust me,” said Nurre.
“It’s just such an interesting time to be in this industry because you have so many things that are all evolving at the same time,” added Nurre.
“We have a lot of police reform work, but the city also has a lot of interest in justice and how do you merge that when you push reforms.”
San Joses Next Steps to Improve Police Malpractice Cases
The IPA is currently working on various initiatives to improve its police department.
These initiatives include hiring an external advisor to assess police response to the riot, the use of violent practices and the SJPD’s compliance with the best practices of the Task Force on Policing in the 21st Century.
“I know SJPD did some work to get some of these over the goal line but we want to see all of them,” said Nurre.
“Let’s make sure the SJPD is at the forefront of policing in the 21st century.”
A recent poll published by the IPA found that San Jose residents do not trust the police.