For the first time in a decade, the San Jose Police Department is giving its community access to a trove of data about use of force through a new web portal where it is inviting residents to do their own research of the kind of violent encounters that have spurred reform movements across the U.S., reports the San Jose Mercury News. The first major study performed with the newly sorted data, by portal designer Police Strategies LLC, found no significant racial disparities in how San Jose officers apply force on the city’s streets. Use-of-force rates among white, black, Latino and Asian suspects hover between 3 and 4 percent of arrests made involving those groups, all within about one percentage point of each other.
That finding, based on use-of-force data culled from 2015 and 2016, was welcome news to Chief Eddie Garcia, who commissioned the study and creation of the online dashboard launched Wednesday. “We have data that says it’s not a systemic problem here,” Garcia said. “I’m glad we’re on a positive track. I hope other departments … jump on board so we can make transparency and trust a countywide effort.” The day before the launch, San Jose police shot and killed an apparent intruder at an office after he reportedly walked toward responding officers while carrying an ax. It was the city’s first officer-involved shooting of the year. Mayor Sam Liccardo said the new tool “represents our continued commitment to maintain the highest levels of transparency and accountability in our police department. By publicly releasing and analyzing this extensive trove of use-of-force data, we can ensure that the San Jose Police Department remains the most professional and trusted department in the nation.”