Hilbert Morales  EO Publisher

Hilbert Morales
EO Publisher

Recent videos recorded the use of choke-holds resulting in the death of the suspect. That choke-hold was not to be used per the LA police policy manual. In another case, a citizen’s smart phone recorded a video of a CHP officer slapping a woman, who was later determined to have mental health challenges. About six years ago, a DEA agent shot a local man who ran away when ordered to stop. That DEA agent shot that man in the back killing him. Later that victim was determined not to be the suspect for which an outstanding arrest warrant existed. Recently a police officer was acquitted of the wrongful death of a teen-age boy who had brandished an assault weapon which was really a plastic toy gun. SJ Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen began her community service career by representing the Vietnamese woman who, when she brandished a vegetable knife, was fatally shot by a SJ police officer.

America may be considered a nation of ‘Law & Order’ enforced by many agencies such as police, FBI, deputy sheriffs, DEA, ICE, Secret Service, and others. All are licensed to kill in the line of duty when appropriate. Everyone needs to understand this, especially youth.

What people need to know and thoroughly understand is that a ‘sworn law officer’ is ‘licensed to kill’ especially when in their own judgment they are in harm’s way. And, until recently, any review of a police shooting was done by Internal Affairs (IA) which has ‘a conflict of interest’. Many law enforcement agencies, such as the CHP (California Highway Patrol with 10,000 officers), the largest in the nation, was not monitored nor audited at all. The public is not assured that any police shooting is objectively reviewed, analyzed, and evaluated independently with no conflict of interest. That is not the case in San Jose, where an ordinance was passed by the SJ City Council establishing the Office of the Independent Police Auditor in 1993. Later on November 6, 1993 San Jose voters approved making the IPA a permanent arm of SJ governance by approving City Charter Section 809 and Municipal Code, Section 8.04.010.

Since 1993, there have been four IPA’s: Teresa Guerrero-Daly (1994-2005), Barbara J. Attard (2005-2008); Shivaun Nurre (interim, 2008-2010); and Judge LaDoris H. Cordell (ret.) who has served since April 2010 as IPA. During the past 17 years, the role of the IPA has been evolving. Those wanting to know more may find the entire IPA history at

Today, voting citizens are advised to have each and every law enforcement agency be subject to independent overview and audit if the unlawful use of force is to be mitigated.

Residents must understand that when a law enforcement officer stops you, you have the right to ask for name, badge number, and to be informed about why you are being subjected to ‘an encounter’. Record that information along with date, time and location to be used when making a report of police misconduct in a truthful and factual manner.

Understand that if a majority of victims report police misconduct, those complaints actually assist police administrators to identify those officers who need more training, orientation, and discipline. If a particular officer gets too many ‘filed complaints’ the police administration has the documentation needed to remove that officer from the police force. This process removes the few ‘bad guys’ from the police staffing. Know that only a few such bad guys are responsible for many complaints of misconduct. Only a few officers abuse the power and authority of being a police officer. By this process it is possible to improve the quality of police staff while reducing the unlawful use of force. It takes the community to require that each unlawful use of force be thoroughly investigated by an auditor, who has no conflict of interest and is totally independent of the police department. That exists now in San Jose. The IPA may be reached at 408-794-6226. Make the call to report any and all incidents of police misconduct.

A closing suggestion: Law enforcement is a very tough profession. Be courteous and respectful when dealing with a police officer. A little kindness and consideration will make your life, and that of the police officer, quite enjoyable. You both want to have a community that has the safety and security that attracts business and commerce. Individuals thrive when confident about their safety and security.


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