San Jose Police Union Introduces Plan to Clean Up the Ranks

California’s three biggest police unions—including San Jose’s—unveiled a plan over the weekend to clean up the profession and root out racist cops.

As thousands of people throughout the nation marched against police brutality, full-page ads in the Sunday editions of the Mercury News, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle touted the reform agenda newly adopted by the San Jose Police Officers’ Association and its counterparts in S.F. and L.A.

“No words can convey our collective disgust and sorrow for the murder of George Floyd,” the Sunday advertisement reads. “We have an obligation as a profession and as human beings to express our sorrow by taking action.”

The promise by San Jose’s POA to self-police comes amid a renewed nationwide uprising against law enforcement sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops. Locally, families of loved ones killed by police have led a growing call to defund the institution and reallocate funding to community and safety-net services.

But the San Jose City Council has echoed the city’s police department by backing a reformist approach pushed by the POA.

In a press release announcing its major-newspaper ads over the weekend, the unions acknowledged the public outcry over Floyd’s killing.

“Police unions must root out racism wherever it rears its ugly head and root out any racist individual from our profession,” the announcement read. “There are also some people who don’t possess the temperament to be members of law enforcement, and we must also confront and address the damage these individuals cause to the level of community trust we strive to maintain.”

The news release boasted of “tremendous strides” made by police in recent years that strengthened accountability and transparency and limited use of force. However, the unions acknowledged, more must be done.

To that end, the POA outlined a plan to pursue the following initiatives:

  • A national database of former police officers fired for gross misconduct that prevents other agencies from hiring them. (California is one of just five states that has no process for permanently revoking cops’ badges for serious crimes or misconduct).
  • A national use-of-force standard that emphasizes a reverence for life, de-escalation, a duty to intercede if witnessing excessive force or misconduct, proportional responses to dangerous incidents and strong accountability provisions.
  • An early warning system to identify officers that may need more training and mentoring. (San Francisco PD already has a system like this).
  • Ongoing and frequent crisis intervention and de-escalation training of police officers to build and refresh skills to improve police and community outcomes.
  • A transparent and publicly accessible use-of-force analysis website so that the public can monitor when and how force is used.

“Our unions are committed to the continuous improvement of policing in America,” the POA announcement states. “We believe that each of our departments has made tremendous strides in strengthening accountability, transparency and adopting policies that reduce the number and severity of uses-of-force. However, we can do more, and we believe this agenda should be adopted across our nation as an important step toward improving police and community outcomes.”

13 Comments

  1. Foxes will guard the hen house!

    Cats will bell each other!

    Cops will police themselves.

    Pigs will of course fly!!!

    • > Foxes will guard the hen house!

      > Cats will bell each other!

      > Cops will police themselves.

      > Pigs will of course fly!!!

      And autonomous zones without cops will provide peace and harmony and faimess — oh, and end racism too.

      LOOK! It’s raining unicorns!

  2. I didn’t notice anything that guarantees enforcement of laws/policies over police, since the Supreme Court says all police have qualified immunity. https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=876853817

    Hearing things like this move me from #defundthepolice to #dismantlethepolice so we can rebuild this new entity with actual enforceable policies. Actual trigger conditions, actual consequences.

  3. For this to work, noncompliance such as covering up for a fellow officer must result in mandatory firing and public shaming. The investigation must be conducted by an agency unconnected with law enforcement. You can’t trust the police to police themselves. Just like ordinary people, cops need to worry about their jobs and reputations.

  4. Can any of the “cancel the cops” wokesters out there give us a real world instance of a modern, civilized society that DOESN’T have cops?

    CIvilization is based on cops and private property.

    No cops. No civilization.

    • > Can any of the “cancel the cops” wokesters out there give us a real world instance of a modern, civilized society that DOESN’T have cops?

      Silly me:

      Vatican City.

      Why would they need cops? Everyone’s holy.

  5. You have one damnable reprobate masquerading as a cop who commits what amounts to a war crime and now you want to disband the Army and surrender to the enemy. Give him a trial, find him guilty, then give him life without possibility of parole and house him in a cell block full of Black gang members and let him share a cell with two or three of them, preferably those over six feet tall and 200+ pounds. After a few years, move him to Epstein’s old cell.

  6. As long as we have to have public employee unions, and evidently it’s written in stone somewhere that we must, then yes, the SJPOA is the natural, best placed entity to institute reform.

  7. Who determines the official policies of the City of San Jose (and Los Angeles and San Francisco)? Is it the elected City Council or the un-elected and unaccountable Police Officers Association (POA)? Are members of the San Jose Police Department employees of the city enabled by public financing (our tax money) and subject to public direction and oversight (our elected leaders) or does that Department set public policy on its own?

    In the past few weeks, Mayor Liccardo has stated that he has no power to remove any police officers or other City employees due to the City Charter. To read the joint ad placed by the police officers’ associations of L.A., San Francisco and San Jose, the impression you get is that they run the law enforcement/policing show. You don’t get the impression that they are employees of those respective cities and, therefore, public employees that answer to elected public leaders.

    The labor agreement that is currently in force between the City and the Police Officers’ Association until end-June, the so-called Memorandum of Agreement (January 1, 2017–June 30, 2020), states: “…[T]he City retains all rights, powers and authority granted to it or which it has pursuant to law or other provisions of the City Charter including, but not limited to: the right to direct the work force; increase, decrease or reassign the work force; hire, promote, demote; discharge or discipline for cause; or reclassify employees; provide merit increases; assign employees overtime and special work requirements, and to determine the necessity, merits, mission and organization of any service or activity of the City or any City Department Agency or Unit” (p. 26) (https://www.sanjoseca.gov/home/showdocument?id=32017).

    This sounds to me like the elected leaders and City administration call the shots or, at least can call the shots. But when elected politicians abdicate their power, demure and defer to vested and special interests–including the POA–who fund them, we get an out of control, and potentially dangerous, police force. (People can dig through data on POA donations, and donations by other major vested local elite interest using the data sources used in https://maplight.org/story/campaign-funding-in-silicon-valley-spotlight-on-san-jose/.)

    If chain of command over the police in the City is ambiguous, then we residents have to start asking some basic questions: 1) what is required to ensure public safety and the enforcement of law in our city of some 1,000,000 people?; 2) what are ways of achieving public safety and law enforcement that are consistent with basic human rights regardless of race, gender, class, faith tradition, sexual preference, etc.?; 3) do the answers to 1) and 2) require a “police force” and, if so, how would such a force be structured and, if not, what are alternative ways for the City to achieve those goals?

    It looks like years of community organizing and struggles, and the murder of George Lloyd, have prompted Minneapolis city leaders to disband its current police force (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/07/us/minneapolis-police-abolish.html). Residents of San Jose would be well served to pay attention to what is unfolding there for the important lessons we can glean about better City governance for ourselves. San Jose elected leaders must definitively and decisively assert unambiguous elected civilian command and control of police and policing.

    It is not–or should not–be up to the police to tell residents what the rules of policing are, or should be, or how the police will reform their practices. It is for civilian, elected leadership, with wide input from constituencies, to determine what policing should consist of and what the role of police should be.

    • > Residents of San Jose would be well served to pay attention to what is unfolding there . . . .

      and recognize that the problem is decades of progressive Democrat one-party rule, and do just the opposite of whatever Minnesota does.

  8. Any talk of police reform needs to include the end of ‘no knock’ warrants and asset forfeiture.

    I notice these are the very same issues that NOBODY is talking about.

    So, any ‘reforms’ we actually get will continue to allow police abuse.

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