SJPD Expected to Receive $1.6 Million in State Technology Grant

Thanks to a higher-than-anticipated law enforcement grant, the San Jose Police Department will be able to upgrade aging equipment, including an 11-year-old mobile communications system that crashed the night of Officer Michael Johnson's fatal shooting.

The City Council will vote on the grant allocation Tuesday.

Some of the $1.6 million state grant will go to new computers and servers ($800,000) and new mobile data computers—dubbed MDCs—for police cars.

The 11-year-old 3G MDCs went down on the night of Johnson's shooting, prompting the council to speed up plans to replace them with a faster 4G LTE versions. Police rely on the mobile computers for mapping locations, records searches and communicating with each other. But the system is prone to frequent outages.

Some $500,000 of an additional $700,000 grant will pay for body cameras. LaDoris Cordell, the city's soon-to-retire independent police auditor, has been pushing for officer-worn body cameras for years. Two pilot programs later, the city is still in the planning stages, with yet another pilot program on the horizon.

The city will put $50,000 toward investigative and leadership training for officers; $50,000 for crime prevention education and outreach; and $172,000 for safety equipment.

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More from the San Jose City Council agenda for April 28, 2015:

  • For $11 million, the city will resurface 19 miles of aging roads, including Camden, Foxworthy, Hamilton and Marten avenues, Vistapark, Trinidad and Metro drives, and Keyes, Julian and Second streets.
  • As one of a few Arab Americans serving elected office in a major U.S. city, Councilman Johnny Khamis will pay out of pocket to attend the Arab American Institute Foundation's Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala and the Arab American Leadership Day this month in Washington D.C. While at the capitol, he says, he'll lobby for federal transportation funding and promote San Jose's economic development goals.
  • The council is looking to fill a vacancy on the Ethics Commission. So far, four applicants have put their name in the running for the four-year term: retired vice president of Eden Group Roy Truitt, law clerk Reginaldo Villarreal, financial advisor Monica Belizzi and government management auditor Adrian Gonzales. Here's a link to their applications.
  • San Jose wants to oppose a state bill—AB 1220 by Orange County Republican Matt Harper—that would prohibit local governments from imposing a tax on short-term rentals, like the fee San Jose recently passed on Airbnb stays.

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 the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. CopCams have had a positive impact as measured by drop in violent confrontations, police misconduct complaints, and increased convictions of offenders. However….camera cost is only a small portion of TCO – total cost of ownership. See

    What is SJPD’s estimated TCO? Could the money be better used elsewhere?

    Extrapolating from Baltimore’s figures, SJ’s could be about $4.3M / year. The one time $500K grant may not be the best choice for SJ’s citizens at this time.

    $4.3M / year could:
    a. Pay for an additional 21 cops at current costs (or make SJPD benefits more competitive to increase retention).
    b. Resurface an additional 3 miles of streets each year
    c. Pay down municipal debt saving millions over long term interest costs
    d. Increase park and library hours
    e. Increase funding for drought response.

    Hope the Council carefully considers implications and alternatives.

    • I recall a TCO number in the $7 million/year range. hardware costs we re e negligible at less than $400k. The cost is in storing the massive amounts of data each and every camera captures….

      • I know that’s been the claim, but when I analyzed how much each camera produces and associated storage cost, I was off by a couple of orders of magnitude (over 100 times less expensive than proposed cost) compared to vendor prices. And that was raw data storage – i.e., no data deduplication, no image compression, no purge of useless data – all of which would lower cost.

        As far as I can tell, companies that offer the technology hope to get municipalities to enter into long term contracts. Important to remember that data storage costs traditionally decline at about 30% per year. Typically, it’s cost effective to replace storage equipment about every 36 months due to technology obsolescence. Or use Amazon/Microsoft/Google cloud storage as many do.

        City of San Jose has made some really dumb technology decisions. Hope this doesn’t become another one.

        • SJ has made some horrible tech decisions. I think the storage number sounds high but keep in mind SJ is going to want to keep every frame from every camera forever. I may sound like overkill and it probably is but when that data is needed to prove or disprove something the Dept is going to want to be able to say that “every possible pixel was stored and reviewed which leads investigators to conclude___”

          Will it matter? probably not because the “usual suspects” will accuse the SJPD of coverup , destruction of evidence and any other thing they can come up with to case doubt. Its just going to be the “cost of doing business,” i don’t think the police or the public can have it any other way.

  2. Not to mention the Fire Department has the OLD OLD OLD MDT’s that the Police Department gave up 10 years ago. The maps are useless, they crash every two hours, they are nothing more than a way to tell dispatch that we are on our way, and have arrived. Technology? WHAT Technology?
    This is Silicon Valley. We dont even have updated HARD maps (let alone MDT maps) to get us to where we need to go. With the massive growth in Blossom Valley, 1st street corridor and everywhere else, 25-3-% of the addresses cant be fount on anything the Fire Department provides. They use their OWN smartphones for directions. And you have the nerve to blame the Firefighters? Wake up, see what your City Council, Mayor and the philosophy of hate have done to your public safety.

    • Wish technology (and anything thing else) that adversely affects public safety such as unreliable and inaccurate mapping equipment would be highlighted on the POA & SJFF websites. Otherwise, how is the public kept informed so as to advocate for these matters?

      Taking over Rural Metro medical response and transport functions in SJ doesn’t seem sensible under these circumstances.

      What’s the estimated cost to remedy SJPD & SJFF technology problems? Any Civil Grand Jury or SJ Auditory reports on either?

      • Wouldn’t it be nice? The info is available – it just just doesn’t appeal to the masses who are more worried about the ship date of their Apple watch and when the next generation will be available… Put is on the POA/Fire Webs? What the Use? All the info in the world debunking the Cities Pension Reform , Staffing plans, not to mention the current contracts and pay scales is readily available on those sites… few took the care or time to look at the info and many who did said it was just propaganda from union thugs… why would anyone care about this topic?

      • Well, fellow taxpayer, do you really care? We have been telling the Citizens since day one that the City, the Council, Reed, Liccardo, Figone and their handlers have been lying to you. Who did you believe? Them. Weed hit it right on…now that the crisis has hit, you SEEM to care, but you really dont. If we had to calculate arrival times, hard data and numbers with an abacus you would be just fine with it… long as the City Politicians told you it was the “best way to go”.
        In answer to your question, that subject was broached, discussed and benched 8 years ago….who were yo listening to then?
        And please dont tell me its just “water under the bridge”, I still have all of those really nice pay reductions you voted for.

        • Bohica,
          Interesting that you know how I voted, etc. 8 years ago I was living 17 times-zones away. And no, IMO, Measure B is most certainly is not ‘water under the bridge’, but temper tantrums rarely solve problems.

    • The MDT’s used by SJFD are absolutely worthless. Nothing more than very expensive paper weights . Most times , individuals will use their smart phones to locate an address or location . Another in a long line of extremely bad decisions by this City

  3. Meyer Weed you hit the nail on the head! My forehead is bloodied from years of bashing it against a brick wall. The bean counters and incompetent “politicians” would be fired if this were a tech company!

  4. Meyer Weed, I don’t find anything about failing equipment. AFAIK, the matter was first reported after the Wilson murder. Earthquake? Baltimore-type civil insurrection? SJPD & SJFF would seem to be utterly unprepared thus placing employees and residents at risk.

    Easy to rant and rail about public apathy and ignorance – and I agree with you. But Apple is selling millions of gadgets that most of us don’t need because they are superb in persuading us that we do.

    Please post links on POA & SJFF sites re equipment if available. Sour grapes behavior only supports feckless “bean counters and politicians”.

    • The police communication system was flawed and rife with problems from the very beginning. When officers continually tried to bring these matters to the attention of the police senior leadership, at the time chief Rob Davis (Master’s degree administrator; Kindergarten street cop), the word from on high came back that the system was fine, and that it was instead the officers who were too stupid to figure out how to use the new system and that cops didn’t like the system because they never like or want change anyway. Admittedly there was stupidity associated with the problem, but it was at the senior leadership level, not that of the street cops. Yet again though, it was those who didn’t have to (and arguably never in their careers ever did) play the game who were making the rules and who heaped the ridicule on those who were taking all the risks.

      Finally it became clear that chief Davis had little interest in fixing the broken communication system because he was too busy fasting for Ramadan (Oct 2004) ( and “reaching out” to whatever community group most benefited his own agenda. So, in order to get their job done, the “stupid” officers, developed work-arounds, to deal with the never-ending system crashes. Officers resorted to field expedients such as using their own cell phones; using paper and pencil to write down information on calls; and broadcasting over unmonitored (by dispatch or recording) back-up radio channels to avoid often hopeless attempts to broadcast information over chronically congested or inoperative main radio channels,

      In 2004, right after the computer system went operational, in the SJPOA newsletter “The Vanguard”, one of the SJPOA directors at the time wrote …”Let’s hope that fixing the system is made the highest priority and that it is fixed before someone gets killed. I’m sure if some activist complained that the system was somehow discriminatory, our City officials and police administration would immediately jump on it and be frantically trying to solve the problem before someone was oppressed!”

      As expected and sadly, the City administration seems to have found money for body-cameras well before finding funding to fix the radio system fiasco. I am certain that officer “Nostradamus” takes no satisfaction in seeing that his prediction has come true.

      • Thank you and other public safety employees for your contributions for our welfare -and the light your message sheds on the matter.

        Quite frustrating. I met with Liccardo (as D3 Council member), Figone, and later Shikada. The purpose was to offer FREE technical aid to support CSJ IT projects. I had seasoned professionals from many disciplines including those completing graduate degrees in computer science / information systems lined up to help. They needed to complete projects as part of their academics and could take on 6 month activities.

        It could have taken many forms including consulting or education (no actual development) if there were fears around displacing municipal tech employees. That concern never surfaced in the discussions, but I raised it.

        Oakland and to a lesser extent, San Francisco, have had similar efforts underway for a few years and the results have been impressive. Many cities throughout the world do a much better job than we do through similar efforts.

        I’m not a tinfoil hat type, but lately my primary concern is the security of our public safety and local government IT systems. Let’s just say that the public kiosks at City Hall could be easily weaponized. At this point, that seems more important than deploying a revised crime map available to the public.

        Believe I saw a press release that something (IT help, not security) may have been started, but haven’t seen anything else. No outreach to professional groups that I’m aware of.

        Sorry for venting -the response from our officials has been very disappointing.

        • Hmm, City leaders are not responsive to Taxpayer(s); City Leaders are not responsive to City Departments or their City Employees…

          Anyone see a pattern developing here?

  5. ~ Our good, brave, honest police officers and agents with integrity deserve not only better training and standards, but leaders that lead by good example in their agencies for their officers to follow. It is up to the management to weed out the bad apples and when one of their own breaks the law or their own code of ethics, or even a mistake, it is their superiors that have to take responsibility and hold them accountable. The lives of all law enforcement officers are in their care. As are the lives of the public. People want the Truth.

    ~ Bad cops lie, falsify reports, plant evidence, use excessive force, flat out lie under oath in a court of law. And never even blink.

    ~ And good ones sometimes feel like they have to also and break their own code of ethics and conduct to cover for the bad ones. Or otherwise be labeled a rat and face retaliation. If any officer breaks the Law or Code of Ethics, he should not be shielded by the Police Bill of Rights.

    ~ What is more concerning and a national security threat, is what the bad apples do off duty, or on duty but off camera……………….?

    ~ Yes, polygraphs can be beat. Yes, the are inadmissable in court. Yes, they are only as good as the examiner. But if used as a tool to weed out the bad apples, and protect the good cops, maybe they would think twice before breaking the very laws they were sworn to uphold.

    ~ All Levels of Law Enforcement have for decades felt that the polygraph is a much needed and essencial part of the hiring process. Why not change Policy that Polygraphs and Psych Evals for new Hires expire every 5yrs? (Including applicants for higher ranking positions)

    ~ President Obama Already Has a Way to Prevent Policing Abuses… (Deny federal grant money to any level of law enforcement agencies that do not have an outside, independent agency that can prove their accountability)

    ~ Police Corruption and Misconduct legal definition of Police Corruption and Misconduct

    ~ National Institute of Ethics: Police Code of Silence – Facts Revealed

    ~ National Instititute of Justice: Police Discipline: A Case for Change

    ~ The Cato Institute’s National Police Misconduct Reporting Project

    ~ Police Misconduct and ‘Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights’ Laws | Cato @ Liberty

    ~ Center for Investigative Reporting ~ “Crossing the line: Corruption at the border” –

    ~ DoD: Random Lie-Detector Tests Increase Personnel Security… (the polygraph is the single most effective tool for finding information people were trying to hide.”)

    ~ Federal, State and Local Governments (including police) are excluded from the Polygraph Act of 1988.

    ~ Break the Code. Break the Culture.

  6. Patricia Donalds,

    Every hour of every day armed and largely autonomous police officers patrol the streets of this city, interacting daily with thousands of citizens of all races, creeds, and colors. Many of these interactions are with citizens who, because of their behavior and/or personal convictions, resent, fear, or resist the officers as they perform their duties. Were I to factor this indisputable reality with the Chicken Little version you painted in your post, I would concluded that SJPD must send brutalized innocents to the hospital or morgue on a near hourly basis.

    But of course it doesn’t. The truth is, statistically, SJPD is remarkably restrained in its dealings with society’s uncivilized failures, neither cracking the skulls nor canceling the tickets of .01% of the human garbage that depreciate this city with their very presence. San Jose’s cops, like those most elsewhere, annually capture and deliver unblemished to the justice system dozens of killers, rapists, child molesters, elder abusers, and other despicable specimens of a type that history tells us were once routinely lynched by vengeful townspeople. Not exactly the track record one would expect based upon your hyperlink hysteria.

    It is apparent from your post that you have no concept of the critical role trust plays in the functioning of action groups, be they rifle platoons, firefighters, or street cops (a genuine trust based upon a common mission and life-and-death need as opposed to the sleezy, personal ambition-based trust known to politicians, journalists, academics). The fantasy force of your naive construct, composed of cops who collectively operate with the courage and cohesiveness of Thermopylae Spartans while individually demonstrating an Al Sharpton-like eagerness to out every cop for every conceivable misstep, is so at odds with human nature as to be laughable. That code of silence you exaggerate and bemoan doesn’t exist to facilitate injustice against the public, it exists to hinder injustice against the police.

    Lastly, I hope you’ll excuse me if I don’t share your enthusiasm for the criticisms and solutions offered by the likes of Barrack Obama or LaDoris Cordell, as I am not at all inclined to value the advice of members of a community that has proven itself so adept at failure. African-Americans commit violent crimes, steal, fail in school, go bankrupt, ruin neighborhoods, opt for parasitic lives, accept racist privilege, and engage in self-destructive behavior at rates that suggest they’re trying to corner the market. Nonetheless, they audaciously point fingers and offer solutions to the rest of us as if they were America’s wisest and most civilized citizens, all to the obsequious cheers of citizen fools and the American cancer we call the news media.

    • Frustrated, Thanks. I recall the sage advice from a former manager. “Never wrestle with a pig. You end up covered in sh*t and the pig enjoys it.” Also recall a VP telling me. “Don’t confuse me with facts. My mind is made up.”

      Ms. Donalds doesn’t seem troubled by the absence of facts or relevancy as it relates to public safety. I suspect astute readers recognize her cognitive impairment and grateful they aren’t married to her.

      • Mr. Taxpayer,

        I am surprised at you. Don’t you understand how the City functions? If I understood you correctly, you stated that you could assemble a panel of bonafide IT experts who actually knew what they were doing and who could build a system that actually functioned as intended and they would do it for free? Sir, excellence and competence are enough to mark any City program for rejection.

        Let’s face reality again. What you proposed wasn’t exactly free. Although actual financial compensation would not be involved, those working on the project, whether company or individual, would gain a valuable resume and reputation enhancer, as well as experience, that would be very valuable for any business or person looking to obtain similar projects, possibly for cash, in the future. So you would then have a panel of experts who are willing to invest their time and efforts, for free, while risking their reputations if something goes wrong. This is called a “vested interest”. Whereas one’s reputation within any industry is much more difficult to recoup than is financial compensation, your idea would result in a panel of competent experts, risking their business and industry reputations (and in some cases academic success) with a powerful vested interest in getting everything right, the first time and quickly fixing any (normal) glitches or bugs that may develop. Again, this is a sure recipe for rejection by the City.

        Cynicism (sad reality) aside, one real problem with any IT system, as I’m sure you know, is on-going support. It is my understanding that the City’s police communication system was built on proprietary software which could only readily and cost-effectively be supported by the company that provided it. Naturally this company subsequently went bankrupt, as I recall, less than a year later. (They are probably working on the Obamacare roll-out).

        As well, one could solve or ameliorate the problem of misplacing existing City employees with IT experts who work for free, by having the latter train the existing City IT personnel regarding how to support and/or modify the system as needed. I’m no IT guy but it would seem that if the system used components built from common, already existing and/or easily repaired, modified and supported software, this would likely not be too difficult. Design the system such that it can be supported or repaired by a chimp and it would be perfect for use by a City IT Department.

        The “City Department of Information Technology and Development” (Don’t scrimp on the Unit title; make it longer if you can) would have to consist of at least 15 people, to include: One Department Head, and an Assistant Department Head (These latter two would be given the title of “IT expert” as long as they have a college degree, even if they can’t reboot a computer, but they must upgrade their Department cell phones every month and classify every 3 hour lunch as a “meeting”). You would need at least 3 “Development Unit” supervisors, 3 “Support Unit” supervisors and 3 “Information Technology Administration Unit” supervisors. You would (seriously and absolutely) need one experienced, veteran clerical support person to interpret, evaluate, and/or shred any memos and directives that filter down from the top, this in order to prevent meddlesome supervisors, who say “it can’t be done”, from interfering with those who are doing it.

        Finally you would need 2 people (problem solvers at the bottom of the ladder) who actually know what they are doing and who take pride in their work and in excellence for its own sake. One might also wish to throw in one “slacker” who is capable of doing actual work, at least at a mediocre level, if bullied hard enough by the 2 problem solvers or threatened by the support person.

    • Mr. Nate,

      While I’m sure you find it exciting to ponder the possible police use of the equipment and devices you listed, it would be time better spent for you to concern yourself with a potential, maybe even likely, encounter between yourself and police who are equipped with capture sticks and tranquilizer guns firing darts filled with Thorazine and Librium.

      While I don’t pretend to be immune to an occasional digression myself, I would only ask humbly that you please try and stay focused on the article and topic under discussion here and not on the argument occurring between the voices in your head.

    • Nate, since you never have any substantial or creditable information to offer to these discussions, why don’t you go out and buy a puppy instead.

  7. Nate Jaeger,

    What the police department might do next remains a question, but what it did 18 years ago, when it rejected your pathetic attempt to undo your sham disability and gain reappointment as a police officer is a matter of public record. That you were as big a failure in your government-subsidized, post-police career as you’d been as a cop surprised no one (except your easily fooled self), but few would’ve guessed that there were psych-meds powerful enough to have allowed you to overcome your delusions of grandeur long enough to beg the department for an entry-level position. I just wish Personnel would’ve strung you along long enough to get you to psych services. Those folks deserve a little terror in their lives.

  8. Frustrated & JSR: Embarrassed that I laughed so hard at your responses to Mr. Jaeger – and annoyed I spilled coffee on my shirt when I did. Note to self: don’t read SJI comments while drinking beverage.

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