San Jose police chief, mayor address department's troubles
SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose's mayor and police chief held a news conference on Wednesday to give the public an update on the "state of the department."
Mayor Sam Liccardo and Police Chief Anthony Mata admitted that the police department has been hit by a slew of internal scandals as well as a spike in homicides.
The most recent cloud to hover over the department came last week, when Mata literally walked out former Officer Matthew Dominguez out the door.
Dominguez was arrested on suspicion of masturbating at a family's home while on a service call, after he had taken a specific interest in the 23-year-old daughter.
Mata also has four other officers who have recently faced with criminal and departmental violation allegations including: An officer who was drunk while searching for a kidnaped baby, a rookie officer who died of a fentanyl overdose, an officer who is under investigation for providing a meth pipe to a woman in exchange for information and another off-duty officer arrested for a DUI in Hayward.
In addition, the California state auditor recently found evidence of officer bias in some of California's largest police departments, including San Jose, departments had no clear plan to address the pattern of prejudice.
At a news conference this month, Mata said he would "not tolerate inappropriate behavior or criminal conduct when an officer violates the public's trust. They will be held accountable as these incidents are further investigated."
Mata added: "As the leader of this organization, I want the public to hear from me. And I also want to make it clear that I will not make any excuses for the criminal conduct of our police officers. We are and should be held to a higher standard as what the public expects. And that's what I expect of our men and women of this department."
In addition to departmental woes, the climate outside SJPD has been difficult, too.
San Jose has seen 11 homicides so far this year, including three just this week.