SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose City Council is being criticized for its record on police reform. A recent report says the council has failed to implement recommendations issued in 2021. But city officials are pushing back on those findings.
This is the 2nd year Sacred Heart Community Service has issued a report on San Jose's policing. The committee gave the council a failing grade, but the city council says progress is being made and there’s still more work to do.
"Back in 2020, when George Floyd was murdered, we were taken aback but needed to take a look at our own backyard," said Derrick Sanderlin, Sr. Community Organizer for Sacred Heart Community Service.
Sacred Heart released its yearly findings on San Jose City Council’s response to the hundreds of recommendations it gave to the police department. The results: the Council received an F in policing.
"The solutions we want to see like more safe parking sites for people who are living on the streets. More dignity for folks on the streets. So instead of being harassed, being able to give them an alternative. Mental health responses and reinvesting into some of the mental health responses we already have," Sanderlin said.
Sacred Heart also disagrees with adding more police officers as a part of the solution. Last year, the city’s independent police auditor launched a web portal for people to report misconduct. It found that 31% of officers received complaints in 2021, up 25% from the year before. District 4 Council member David Cohen says it’ll take time to implement hundreds of recommendations.
"As I said two things can be true, we need to continue down the path of reform and best practices. We also need to continue to invest in a properly staffed police department," Cohen said.
Newly-elected Mayor Matt Mahan was also on the city council last year and says he disagrees with Sacred Heart’s assessment of the progress being made.
"The city received over 500 recommendations. To date, we have implemented over half of those. We have another 111 that are in progress. There are another 113 recommendations that we don’t have the capacity to implement at the moment, but we agree with," Mahan said.
The mayor says the council will go back out to the community and ask people to help prioritize the remaining recommendations. Sacred Heart says many of the changes should’ve happened years ago, and they don’t want these issues to fall on the back burner.