San Jose Begins Search for New Independent Police Auditor

San Jose’s search for a new independent police auditor (IPA) begins in earnest this month, as Walter Katz will officially resign from the post Friday to advise Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on public safety. The search for Katz’ successor will draw from a national pool of candidates.

Katz’s second-in-command, Shivaun Nurre, will assume the IPA role until the City Council appoints a replacement later this year. Nurre has served as acting police auditor before—first before LaDoris Cordell’s hire in 2010 and after her resignation five years later.

The council on Tuesday will vote on a recruitment timeline, which starts with public hearings this month and should end with a new hire by August or September. Mayor Sam Liccardo tapped City Budget Director Lee Wilcox to lead the hiring effort with help from an outside recruiting firm.

“The Office of the Independent Police Auditor provides independent oversight of and instills confidence in the complaint process through objective review of police misconduct investigations,” Liccardo wrote in a memo to the council. “By providing outreach to the San Jose community and making thoughtful policy recommendations to the City Council, the IPA works to promote accountability and to strengthen the relationship between the San Jose Police Department and the community it serves. This is an important personnel appointment for the City Council.”

The first of two community meetings takes place at 6:30pm April 17 at the Mayfair Community Center, 2039 Kammerer Ave. The second meeting is set for 6:30pm April 20 in Room 19 at City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St.

“With this approach there will be multiple opportunities for community groups and members of the public to comment on and influence the search process,” the mayor wrote.

Katz announced his departure in February after barely a year on the job and just as he had kicked off an 18-month outreach effort to improve police-community relations. The push is being funded by a $1 million grant from the San Francisco 49ers. A former public defender, Katz gained renown for his expertise on police accountability as deputy inspector general overseeing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

In San Jose, Katz succeeded Cordell, a retired judge who pushed for progressive policies during her five-year tenure as police auditor. Though the authority of police auditors is limited in San Jose, Cordell convinced the city to equip officers with body cameras and collect demographic data about traffic and pedestrian stops.

Katz assumed the job as those policies rolled out. During his brief stay in San Jose, he also advised the city to expand the authority of the police auditor’s role. Under the City Charter, police auditors can only review complaints filed by the public—not those initiated from within the ranks.

“Back when the charter was amended, establishing our office in 1996, I think the IPA’s model was really the standard,” Katz told San Jose Inside back in January. “But it’s been 20 years since then, and I think there’s some voices in the community that say it’s time to reconsider.”

Liccardo and a couple council members said they would support a ballot measure to expand the scope of the IPA. Police Chief Eddie Garcia at the time said he agreed with Katz about the need to publish use-of-force incidents, a practice the city ended more than a decade ago.

More from the San Jose City Council agenda for April 4, 2017:

  • The city plans to donate 20 surplus vehicles to the Goodwill of Silicon Valley, which will in turn give them to people who lost their cars in the Coyote Creek flood. Goodwill has launched a marketing campaign to solicit the general public for more car donations for flood victims. San Jose may donate another 15 vehicles in the coming months, according to Public Works Director Barry Ng.
  • City staff is asking the council to suspend certain construction taxes, even though it relies on them to fund much-needed road repairs. “However, San Jose is somewhat unique in its levy of construction taxes on development, raising concerns about competitiveness,” according to a memo signed by the city’s Community Economic Development Committee. “Key neighboring cities, including Santa Clara, Milpitas, and Fremont, do not charge construction taxes. Other cities such as Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino have either a low construction tax or a flat rate across commercial and industrial projects. Neighboring cities are often less reliant on construction tax revenue because they invest General Fund money into their transportation network, which San Jose has not had the ability to do given its limited resources and significant general purpose needs.” Ultimately, city staff noted, San Jose needs to modernize its construction tax rates to make them competitive with neighboring jurisdictions and revenue neutral, so it doesn’t take away from the limited funding available for transportation improvements.
  • The council will consider spending another $230,000 for six case managers assigned to find jobs and shelter for the homeless. The money would bring the total contract with the nonprofit San Jose Streets Team to $2.18 million. By the latest count, some 70-plus households are involved in the Streets Team program, which has housed 110 residents to date.
  • More than 150 recommendations made by the city auditor remain only partially enacted and another 68 haven’t been implemented at all, according to a status report going before the council this week.

WHAT: City Council meets
WHEN: 1:30pm Tuesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

8 Comments

  1. > The council will consider spending another $230,000 for six case managers assigned to find jobs and shelter for the homeless.

    Why not invite “the council” to sign up for some “accountability”.

    How about asking the sponsor of this “spending” to provide some objective “business metrics” to evaluate the success or failure of this program. For instance: when the council turns over a briefcase with $230,000 dollars in small unmarked bills to “whoever”, what will the council receive in return and when? One hundred shelters for one hundred “homeless” persons in one month? 200 jobs for 200 homeless persons in two months?

    At what point does the council tell the person with the briefcase: “You didn’t make your numbers. You’re fired. Return the briefcase and account for all of the cash.”?

    • Accountability is disparately needed. The performance measures are a laughable – read the reports. Note that each “caseworker” costs $38,333 / employee for Downtown Streets nonprofit. At $15/hour minimum wage annual salary is $31,200 – the 22% difference could be explained by (minimal) benefits or by indirect costs such as office space.

      What we really have is an agency that’s failing to make a tangible impact. They’re now resorting to jacking up homeless job hiring numbers by adding 6 minimum wage jobs – at public expense.

      Downtown Streets President and former Napster CEO Eileen Richardson’s oversaw a music piracy business that was shut down by court order. Her Downtown Streets homeless clients complain they are given gift cards (often donated) and vouchers instead of cash for their labor. Some cities have prohibited this practice, but not San Jose. DNTS skirts living wage requirements by classifying workers as “volunteers”. She earns about 2 times the average San Jose salary. About 75% of Downtown Streets income originates from public grants. Source: latest IRS 990 filing.

      • Seems like a lot of excessive “virtue signaling” and fake accounting in our local “social services” swamp.

  2. I’d like to nominate former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for independent Police auditor, do I hear a second?

  3. Jennifer, you neglected to highlight that the Auditor’s report notes over $15M in savings that have not been acted upon. It could erase the $11.1M deficit we’re facing with change left over for the deficits we’re facing in all of the remaining years of the the 5 year budget forecast.

  4. Well my little City Council Members and of course hide the child sex tapes of your Mayor Sam the Sham Liccardo at VMC along with his DA Rosen the Milk Toast DA here’s what is going to happen to your County! Why? Because you have hired the poorest of quality Police Officers. Professional Cops won’t come to San Jose and work with the poorly trained, poorly supervised and grossly poor Mexican Leadership. You can’t hide what you are paying and will pay City Attorney Doyle for the criminal conduct of your cops. Soon you’ll get a consent decree. I now am working with Trump to review the conduct of California Law Enforcement conduct. Mr. Sessions was amazed at your killings.

    Jack Slade for The Guardian the collector of Police Killings

  5. Cost to settle misconduct claims against L.A. County deputies soars

    The cost to taxpayers to resolve legal claims against Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies accused of misconduct has soared over the last five years, according to records. The county’s payouts have jumped from $5.6 million to nearly $51 million over that time, a review by The Times found.

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