San Jose patrol officer on Chauvin verdict, how it affects officers
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial has many people asking how will it affect police officers on the streets? Will it change how they do their jobs moving forward? KTVU spoke with a San Jose patrol officer Terrence Campbell to get his perspective.
"I thought the verdict was right on, I thought about accountability," said Campbell. "I thought about giving people hope."
Like many officers, Campbell never questioned Chauvin’s guilt. At the height of last summer’s George Floyd protests in San Jose, Campbell was seen talking to protestors to de-escalate the tension.
He said the verdict is a step forward.
"Going forward no matter what position you are in life, no matter what role you have in life you will be held accountable for your actions," said Campbell.
Campbell has been on the force for two years assigned to downtown where he encounters all kinds of people.
"There’s people that’s anti-police, people with mental illness," said Campbell.
He said the job is more dangerous than before with anxiety heightened.
"Civilians are nervous and scared because they see what’s going on in social media, they see what’s going on in the news," said Campbell. "Officers are nervous and scared as well because you are just trying to do a job protect and serve."
KTVU legal analyst Michael Cardoza thinks some officers may not be as aggressive.
"Some of them will walk away and say go ahead do your crime because I don’t want to put my life or my family’s life at risk," said Cardoza.
Cardoza worries criminals might take advantage. As for police culture, he said it will change but not overnight.
"The officers that are going into the academy now or are in the academy now will be trained differently," said Cardoza.
For Officer Campbell, he admits the verdict does make him think twice about using force because there’s more scrutiny. His plan is to listen more.
"More ears instead of hands," said Campbell.
He said he won’t hesitate to use force if it comes down to it. Body-worn cameras and witnesses with cell phones he knows will be watching, now part of the job.
"I encourage people to pull out their phones when they encounter officers and record," said Campbell.
He adds accountability and transparency is what gives people hope. No regrets for being an officer. He loves the job despite challenging times.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.