After an audit called for firing police who lie to investigators, some city leaders have come out opposing the recommendation.
Labor-backed council members Don Rocha, Xavier Campos and Kansen Chu say the city should exercise caution, especially in light of the San Jose Police Department’s ongoing battle to keep enough officers on staff.
“I recognize that confrontation may get you on the front page of the paper, but in my opinion the public is better served by a council that prioritizes problem-solving instead of publicity, and that facilitates collaboration between staff, stakeholders and the public instead of conflict,” Rocha writes in a memo going before the council this week.
In her year-end report, Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell noted that two officers had sex while on duty and then lied during ensuing investigations into the incidents. She said the department should adopt a no-tolerance policy for untruthful officers. To keep them employed compromises public trust.
Council members Sam Liccardo and Rose Herrera fully supported the recommendation, saying the department should update the duty manual to make lying during an investigation automatic cause for termination.
Police Officers Association President Jim Unland quipped in a Mercury News report that if cops could get axed for lying, then politicians should be held to the same standard.
In a joint memo, Chu and Campos agree that the City Council shouldn’t micromanage personnel matters.
“Falling into the salacious media hype over the misconduct of two officers is not the job of us as a council,” they write. “Rather than react to it by adding to the media frenzy, or more regulations and more government involvement and oversight, we should take to a more effective approach by examining a larger and more systemic solution—transparency.”