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San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo Cracks Down on SJPD Officer Misconduct, Calls for Random Drug and Alcohol Testing

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — The City of San Jose and the San Jose Police Department say they are tired of police officers tarnishing the department’s reputation and putting residents at risk.

SJPD officials say they hold their officers to the highest standards.

But, with three separate ongoing investigations into drug use, alcohol abuse and sexual misconduct, Chief Anthony Mata is asking for more.

“When we took the oath, we did so because we believe in duty, honor and integrity,” Chief Mata said. “Any officer who cannot stand behind this oath should not wear this badge. I will not tolerate inappropriate behavior or criminal conduct.”

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Chief Mata, Deputy SJPD Chief Paul Joseph, and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo shared their anger and disappointment at the behavior of the three officers that the mayor described as offensive and dangerous.

Toxicology reports showed Officer DeJon Packer died of a fentanyl overdose. How this happened is still unclear, according to police.

Another officer is on leave after being accused of sexual misconduct in the line of duty and the matter is still under investigation.

And just a week ago today an officer showed up at the inquest into the kidnapping of Brandon Cuellar while intoxicated, he is also on leave.

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“To anyone who wears a uniform, wears a badge or represents this profession in an unsullied way, I apologize,” Chief Mata said. “I also apologize to the family of three-month-old Brandon Cuellar.”

To ensure accountability moving forward, Mayor Liccardo is proposing to expand random drug and alcohol testing to the entire department.

He says the limited scope of testing is controlled by a San Jose Police Officers Association contract that expires in June.

The mayor wants broader testing to be part of new contract negotiations.

“We have many challenges in the city and we need to do everything we can to make sure we address the very serious issues that our residents face every day,” Mayor Liccardo said. “We don’t need to create more. So I intend to make sure it never happens again.”

SJPD says it has extensive mental health and addictions resources for officers and plans to expand those programs and make them easier to access.

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