Given the overwhelming focus on crime statistics and dearth of sworn officers, a San Jose councilman wants the city to take a deeper look at the state of the San Jose Police Department.
“Sometimes in the rough and tumble of political debate we can forget to seek the counsel of professional staff,” Councilman Don Rocha writes in a memo to the Rules and Open Government Committee.
Recent news reports have focused on the “war of words” between Mayor Chuck Reed and the police union, Rocha says.
“In addition to political posturing, however, we also need dispassionate staff analysis—analysis that is honest and forthright both about successes and about remaining challenges, with no outside agenda,” he states.
The report, he says, should include:
- Staffing projections and historical data going back five years.
- An update on current and historic academy class sizes, with a discussion about targeted class size.
- An overview of strategies that allow police to reduce violent crime despite a staffing shortage.
- An analysis of trade-offs. For example, does a focus on violent crime lead to a rise in other types of crime?
- A look at police reliance on overtime.
- A study of whether lower-priority crimes are being underreported.
- A concerned citizen fears that San Jose is prone to an attack by ISIS and an Ebola outbreak because of illegal immigration. “Given that ISIS wants to hit a target in the United States that has name recognition, a high-tech giant city like San Jose—the Capital of Silicon Valley—is probably a particularly attractive target for ISIS,” writes Lee Ellak. “Especially since no one appears to know how many illegal immigrants are in the city and one or two ISIS agents would probably go unnoticed.”
- Staircases at Communications Hill have become a destination for fitness enthusiasts, drawing crowds of people at dawn or dusk to the chagrin of nearby residents. Developers want to build another 2,200 units and 28 staircases, which has Councilwoman Madison Nguyen worried. “Over the past two years, residents have voiced their frustrations with the grand staircase and made it clear that any new development will likely create similar problems along the hill,” she writes.
- Because the city’s Independent Police Auditor, LaDoris Cordell, has become a national model, Mayor Chuck Reed wants to share her job description with other cities.
- Councilman Xavier Campos says the city should prioritize its riparian corridors, especially given the boom in new development. “In order to preserve these habitats it is necessary to maintain certain widths around these corridors,” he says. “Many of these corridors are currently at risk.”
- Big Tobacco found a loophole to shill its wares at San Jose bars, Rocha says. State law prevents anyone from handing out free or cheap cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products. But cigars and e-cigs: perfectly legal. High school students brought the matter to Rocha’s attention, asking for policies to restrict the practice. According to state records, Philip Morris reps made 470 visits to bars and clubs in town since 2013, focusing almost exclusively on downtown and south San Jose strip-mall bar Branham Lounge.
- The city should put a cap on annual rent increases to protect low-income residents, says Campos.
WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260