Bay City News

San Jose PD Introduces Web Access to Use of Force Data

NBC Bay Area

San Jose police announced a new online portal system Wednesday that will allow the public to search and examine use of force data.

According to San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia, San Jose is the largest city in the nation that uses this system and one of just two that will provide the information to the public.

The system, in partnership with Police Strategies, LLC, allows residents to search through multiple dashboards with 150 different filters, according to police Lt. Gina Tibaldi.

SJPD sent its police reports from 2015 to 2017 to Police Strategies, LLC before launching the website. The department continues to submit reports, but there is a little bit of a lag, meaning cases from October 2017 to December 2017 will probably show up in February, Tibaldi said.

The portal was designed to be user friendly for those who don't consider themselves tech savvy, so it is possible to search for many different cases by division, district, beat and more. Tibaldi displayed the features at a news conference Wednesday.

Tibaldi said users could tailor the tool for themselves by looking up the area they live in and what kind of crime is happening there.

"It can help people separate fact from fiction," she said.

San Jose police are pleased with the data that came out of submitting their reports, with one of the highlights being that racial disparity is "virtually nonexistent" in San Jose when considering frequency and level of force, according to Garcia.

Garcia also confirmed that complaints about use of force went down in 2017 in comparison to 2016, which is a relief to the whole department.

"We are not a department in crisis, nor do we have systemic cultural issues surrounding our use of force," Garcia said.

The chief talked about how the new system will promote transparency in how crime is handled in the community and will continue the conversation about it. He said residents deserved better than one annual report each year, and now they have it.

Though the department is practicing some of the best practices in the nation for use of force at this time, it doesn't mean the force will settle there, Garcia said. He wants to continue to keep the numbers down.

"This organization just wants to maintain the lead to a game that will never end," said Garcia.

Wednesday's announcement comes on the heels of an officer-involved shooting, in which a man allegedly armed with an ax and pipe was fatally shot by officers Tuesday evening at the Metcalf Energy Center in South San Jose.

The man refused officers' commands to stand down and also charged at the officers, according to police.

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