A mayoral contender agrees with an audit that says police who lie to investigators should be fired.
Downtown Councilman Sam Liccardo’s proposal, up for discussion at City Council Tuesday, would urge the San Jose Police Department to update the duty manual to make lying during an investigation cause for an automatic termination.
The memo comes on the heels of Independent Auditor LaDoris Cordell’s year-end report, which called out two cops for having sex while on duty, lying to investigators about it and still keeping their jobs.
“It’s not the sex as much as the lying I’m concerned about,” Cordell told San Jose Inside last week. “The integrity of the department is based on the honesty of the officers. You can’t build trust with the community if we have officers lying and getting away with it. Honesty is critical, absolutely.”
In his memo, Liccardo recognizes that there may be mitigating details about the case under wraps because of laws that keep police discipline confidential. But he pointed out that keeping untruthful officers on staff compromises public trust and could discredit court testimony officers would have to give.
“We do not purport to know whether some barrier in state law or a union contractual provision might have prevented their termination,” wrote Liccardo, a former prosecutor. “We do know, however, that we must send an unequivocal message to our workforce that our community expects that our officers will uphold the highest standards of ethics, and we will not tolerate lying to conceal misconduct.”
Cordell’s audit released last week showed an 83-percent dip in internal investigations of alleged misconduct, which could either be because morale issues over understaffing or because officers are actually behaving better. Citizen-initiated complaints, on the other hand, have peaked since 2010.
Cordell will present her report before the City Council at 1:50pm on Tuesday.