“Creating greater transparency and accountability in law enforcement requires body-worn cameras, implicit-bias training for officers, and civilian monitoring of enforcement and correctional operations. If we do all three, we have the best possible chance of averting tragedy and building trust. And building trust is key to keeping our law enforcement folks safe as well.”
- Body-worn Cameras for Law Enforcement Officers -- First proposed by Supervisor Simitian in 2014, the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors approved body-worn cameras for the County Sheriff’s enforcement and correctional officers in 2017. A use policy for governing the body-worn cameras that includes protections for residents’ privacy, due process rights, and civil liberties is also in place. Body-worn cameras can protect the public against officer misconduct, protect the officers against unfounded allegations, and help restore trust and confidence in law enforcement and public institutions generally. Learn more
- Implicit-bias Training for Law Enforcement Officers -- Implicit bias can cause people to unconsciously and unintentionally act negatively toward individuals they view as different from themselves. Following a County board referral proposed by Supervisor Simitian, County staff developed an extensive training program to raise awareness of the role that implicit bias plays in police work and corrections; all deputies are now required to take this training. Learn more
- Monitoring of Sheriff's Office Operations -- Supervisor Simitian’s concern about the safety and effectiveness of the County jails began long before 2015, when serious and ongoing events in the County jails required the County Board’s action and intervention. The Blue-Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations made numerous recommendations for jail improvements, strongly advocating for an Office of Corrections and Law Enforcement Monitoring to oversee jail procedures and practices. In 2018 Supervisor Simitian authored the ordinance which provided for this oversight. In October 2019, the County Board of Supervisors chose OIR Group to head this office, which reports directly to them.