San Jose police chief proposes 7-point plan for department reform amid instances of misconduct

Outside San Jose police headquarters Wednesday, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo joined police command in announcing a plan in their search for a solution to recent misbehavior by some officers.

"Why are these incidents happening now? We’re not entirely sure. That’s part of what this process is designed to find out," said SJPD Asst. Chief Paul Joseph.

His boss, police Chief Anthony Mata, is proposing a seven-point plan aimed at re-evaluating every aspect of policing and hiring.

The move comes after several high-profile incidents of misconduct. Among them, an officer allegedly intoxicated while working participating in the search for kidnaped baby Brandon in April. Officials said it’s not clear how much interaction he had with other SJPD officers, but an FBI agent pointed out the transgression.

There’s also the case of rookie cop DeJon Packer, who was found dead in his Milpitas apartment, due to a fentanyl overdose according to the Santa Clara County medical examiner.

Chief Mata proposes seven departmental changes to address officer’s needs. They include:

  • Re-evaluating the hiring and background examination process. The chief wants to have two audits in the next 90 days.
  • More random drug and alcohol testing of all members of the department, not just those in specialty units.
  • Implementation of a department-wide universal mental health wellness check.
  • An officer wellness app, to bridge barriers in officers getting help.
  • New training for all police supervisors to help them better identify mental health issues.

You will not hear excuses for inexcusable conduct you will see action and the same determination this department has always how to improve itself, said Mata.

The chief also wants spot audits of all body camera video. And, changing the laws to allow police chiefs to reveal the name of officers to be terminated for criminal misconduct.

MORE: San Jose police officer faces charges for masturbating during disturbance call: D.A.

"I know that chief Mata takes these issues very seriously as I do and every…(member of the force)," Liccardo said. 

Chief Mata came into office 14 months ago, knowing he’d need to make some changes. But the pace of change is being accelerated. Other aspects of his plan could be implemented over the course of the next 90 days.

Jesse Gary is a Reporter, based in the station’s South Bay Bureau in San Jose, CA. Follow him on Twitter @JesseKTVU and Instagram @jessegontv