San Jose to Host Community Forums to Build Trust in Police

San Jose will launch an 18-month project next month that aims to improve the relationship between local police and communities of color.

The campaign, spearheaded by Independent Police Auditor Walter Katz, begins with a Jan. 21 forum where people can share their thoughts about how to build trust between the public and the officers sworn to protect them.

Data shows that the San Jose Police Department disproportionately detains black and Latino people. The statistics released last year found that white people were less likely to be detained despite being more likely to carry drugs (16 percent) compared to African-Americans (14 percent) and Latinos (12 percent).

Those inequities persist in Santa Clara County’s prosecution rates, too. The District Attorney’s Office released a report in October that highlights the disparities.

“Our goal for the forum is to help our residents learn about issues and challenges, share their ideas, and help propose collaborative solutions that can lead to long-term relationships between police officers and our community that are more trusting and productive for everyone,” Katz said in a press release.

Mayor Sam Liccardo and District 5 Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco will co-host the event. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the San Francisco 49ers donated money to organize it. Featured speakers include Katz, San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia and UC Berkeley sociologist and professor emeritus Harry Edwards.

The half-day forum will include a panel about policing vulnerable communities and the public’s expectations for police transparency and accountability. Breakout sessions will follow, so members of the audience can jump into the conversation and pitch solutions that could mend the strained relationship between minorities and the police.

The hope, according to organizers, is that event conversations will translate to policy solutions. Refreshments will be provided and there is no cost to attend.

“We need to hear the community’s concerns,” Carrasco said. “These are real concerns real issues that we'll be dealing with in the concrete and not in the abstract underscoring the importance of today's hearing with stakeholders and residents.”

In addition to participating in community forums like the one taking place next month, Garcia has been reaching out to the public directly on social media. In recent weeks, he has taken to Twitter to post videos that build confidence in the department and recruit new officers.

“We have a story to tell,” he told CBS News in a report about his recent social media blitz. “Social media really allows us to do that in a way that we can really put out this great information about what the officers are doing that wouldn't necessarily get out.”

WHAT: Community Trust in Police forum
WHEN: 9am to 2:30pm Jan. 21
WHERE: Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose
Click here to RSVP for the event


  1. Perhaps Katz could simply just let SJPD know when the quota for each race has been met. When 8% of Blacks have been arrested each year, the police will simply not respond to calls in which a victim describes the suspect as Black. Then everyone will be happy… well, maybe not victims- but that’s what society seems to want.

    Embrace diversity!

    • Jate,

      I find it appalling that you would endorse a plan that would, from about the first week of February every year, have the police ignore calls involving black perpetrators.

  2. > The campaign, spearheaded by Independent Police Auditor Walter Katz, begins with a Jan. 21 forum where people can share their thoughts about how to build trust between the public and the officers sworn to protect them.

    Hasn’t this been done before about a hundred gazillion times?

    Why is it going to make a difference this time?

    Seems to me that our “civic leaders” are out of ideas.

  3. The solution is so obvious, just arrest, detain, and beat up more taxpayers, white people and Trump supporters.
    There I have solved another problem!

  4. The police lost trust in the citizens a long long time ago.. I doubt it can ever be changed. We are trapped in a crazy liberal bubble in California especially the bay area (the liberal swamp). Its painfully obvious as self initiated contacts have plummeted. This along with lower staffing has planted the seed for a crime spike that will continue for several years. The city also has shown what they think of public safety after counter offering a 3% pay raise! Really city hall? The mass exodus will continue as Sam and Co sing a different tune in public while doing the opposite in bargaining. Amazing that police and fire helped promote the tax measure that would have helped the situation, along with the shortage of cops 1400 down to 798 do the math!! (money saved on public safeties back) They have been told by the city that the money from these tax measures are already marked for non public safety projects. When will the media begin to report the facts truthfully to the san jose sheep? The citizens of san jose continue to sleep at the wheel!

  5. The position Mr. Katz holds with the city is the stuff of progressive dreams: he is overpaid by cowed politicians to solve issues he either invents out of whole cloth or vigorously promotes, and his annual success and value to his employer is determined by reports he himself produces. Had this fraud had a legitimate bone in his professional body the forum he’d be hosting would be in response to the most criticized police behavior of the year — police inaction at the Trump rally, and the invited guests would be those poor souls whose trust in their police department was beaten and terrorized out of them at that rally by progressive thugs.

  6. If Harry Edwards is involved then Kaepernick can’t be far behind…a real winning team. Just what a decimated police department needs, lessons from the master of subversion.

  7. > Data shows that the San Jose Police Department disproportionately detains black and Latino people. The statistics released last year found that white people were less likely to be detained despite being more likely to carry drugs (16 percent) compared to African-Americans (14 percent) and Latinos (12 percent).

    What is Mr. Newsroom trying to say here? Is this just a backhand way of saying that African-Americans and Latinos do an inadequate job of “acting white”?

  8. The actual community likes and trusts the police. A small percentage of the population hates the police, and always will. They’re entitled to their opinion, but they don’t represent the community. At no time in my 20 plus years as a police officer have I received more well wishes than I do these days. I experience it nearly every day. It’s not uncommon for people to offer to pay for my meals. A couple of days ago, I saw a couple of young African-American girls walking down the street with a tray of Starbuck’s drinks. As they passed by my car, they stopped and offered me one. I said no thank you, but what a nice gesture it was. People are constantly thanking me for what I do. From my perspective, our public support has never been higher.

    In contrast to the view of The Reliable Informer, I haven’t lost trust in the public. Just as police critics do not speak for the community, I don’t view San Jose’s politicians as speaking for the public. I’m sad to see what has happened to SJPD and the impact it has had on residents, but still proud to be a cop. Police critics will never affect my feelings about my job.

  9. So many perspectives..tough to know where to start.
    1. Walter Katz is a refreshing improvement over Ladoris Cordell.
    2. What merits the forum? Have found nothing on attitudes of SJ residents re SJPD. Residents may hold SJPD in high esteem based or utter contempt on the absence of data. We don’t appear to know.
    3. How do we know residents views? Public safety is the #1 concern and economic opportunity is #2 (source SJ Auditor’s National Citizens Survey for SJ).

    Based on IPA data and Federal data, it seems as if SJPD does an excellent job as measured by ratio of complaints to sworn officers and the nature of complaints. Noteworthy that SJPD has been relatively scandal free compared to Oakland, SF, LA, and a host of other cities.

    4. Important to ask, “So what?” If trust has eroded, what difference does it make? Ditto if boosted? Is chasing public trust the wisest use of public resources? This study suggests it doesn’t matter: Crime has dropped by almost 50% since 1993 and attitudes about PD haven’t materially changed.

    Instead, “The May 2015 release of the report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing highlighted a fundamental change in the issues dominating discussions about policing in America. That change has moved discussions away from a focus on what is legal or effective in crime control and toward a concern for how the actions of the police influence public trust and confidence in the police.” In other words, it’s more about PD perception than crime fighting results. Source:

    5. How much will prescriptive measures cost? See for areas. We don’t appear to measure results and lack a means to know what’s ‘good enough’.

    I’m left with the sense this is a solution chasing a problem. It distracts us from the #1 public safety concern.

  10. Here’s a thought for a ‘Forum’:

    Mrs. Smokey is a supervisor at a local school that cares for adults with really severe disabilities. But the state doesn’t provide nearly enough money to operate, so the students’ parents donate, then go out and collect from friends and relatives to keep the place open. Private organizations help, too, but it’s never enough. (I’m not aware of any local electeds doing anything to help. They can correct me if I’m wrong.)

    The students’ average IQ is ≈25. Some are almost self-sufficient, but most are not. They often have physical disabilities related to their mental problems (typically, their mental problems were caused by their umbilical cord getting wrapped around their necks in utero, which starves the developing brain of oxygen and causes severe, life-long retardation).

    Some of them can’t talk. Some talk, but they can’t be understood. One student can’t swallow, so he wears a ‘drool rag’ that the aides change 6 – 8 times a day. A few weeks ago he caught a bad cold, and almost drowned in the pleghm. Most other students (who range in age up to 60+) must have their adult diapers changed throughout the day, whenever the need arises. But the state doesn’t pay the aides much, so you can imagine how hard it is to find people willing to do that kind of work in this economy, where there are plenty of better paying jobs available.

    On the other hand, the teachers unions are catered to by the same politicians who hardly throw a few crumbs to the people who really, really need help. Last year the local teachers got an 8.5% pay raise. Then they got a 9% ‘bonus’ on top of that — and this year they got another 8.5% pay raise. (The .edu union votes as a block; the raises are the politicians’ quid-pro-quo).

    Then there’s Gov. Moonbeam’s $100 billion+ choo-choo train to nowhere, which gets funded because the Governor was raised by another Governor, and he understands how the system works. He knows the players, and what each one wants, and exactly what it takes to buy every necessary vote. The train project’s construction will be done by union-scale workers, and for their part the vendors (suppliers) don’t really have to bid competitively if they play ball with the Gov. So the Gov gets his legacy train. And the teachers (and of course the school District administrators) get their 26% raise in just two years. But the severely disabled don’t seem to share in the booming economy, thanks to the Governor and his pet Legislature.

    And speaking of trains and transportation, the school can’t even get reliable bus/van service to transport the students. Why not? Because outfits like ebay, Amazon, Apple, etc., pay their bus drivers $20+ and hour, but the state only allocates about $12 – $14/hr for its bus drivers. So as soon as driver positions at Oracle or Yahoo become available, the school’s drivers bail. Can’t blame them. But since the state won’t pay its drivers a competitive rate, the students often have to wait an hour or two for transportation. (The ones with well off parents are OK, but they’re a small fraction of the students. And many of the parents are in their 70’s and 80’s — too old to wrestle their adult child into a van.)

    So projects like the Gov’s totally unnecessary ‘legacy’ train get ample taxpayer funding — but programs for the very tiny percentage of people who really need help have to be subsidized by voluntary contributions (begging, in other words). Meanwhile, the latest scuttlebutt is that this program might get shut down because there are ‘better’ places to spend that money. More important places, if you watch what the Governor and Legislature allocates for the severely disabled. (And as always, disregard what politicians say. Watch their actions instead. Then you’ll see what’s important to them.)

    So, what happens if this small program is eliminated? The students will just sit in a room all day, watching incomprehensible (to them) daytime TV or cartoons, sitting in their soiled diapers because the state just can’t seem to afford the minimum funding necessary to hire aides for their comfort and well being. (And calling them ‘students’ is just for self-esteem; it’s really no more than babysitting; feeding them, changing their diapers and drool rags, and keeping them active with 1st and 2nd grade toys and projects for six hours a day, 5 days a week.) But that is all they’ve got. It’s their life, and without this school they would be infinitely more miserable. But the state has this important legacy train to build, and there’s just not enough money for a small handful of people who don’t even vote…

    Mrs. Smokey certainly doesn’t have to work. She’s a retired middle school Principal with a good pension, and anyway I could support both of us if she didn’t work. It’s not about the money at all. Her Master’s degree is in helping disabled adults, and she wants to make use of her knowledge, and help the folks that the state ignores.

    Maybe SJ Inside could do something really worthwhile, and report on this forgotten and underfunded subset of our population. A ‘Newsroom’ report, or maybe Jennifer or Brad could do a series on this. The publicity might get some action. At the least, it would be interesting to see how local and state electeds try to explain why there’s just not enough money to help the tiny fraction of people that really need the help. So if anyone at SJI needs specifics, like where the school is located, who’s in charge, etc., you have my email.

    Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *