Police chiefs from across Santa Clara County join community conversation on police reform

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- 

A partnership between police and the community is proving effective in San Jose. Their work spread on Thursday night, as police chiefs from across Santa Clara County joined the conversation on police reform.

"It is this dialogue that gives us our framework for our policy work we'll do in the coming weeks and months that follow," said Yeme Girma, People Acting in Community Together volunteer.

The group, PACT, has been working with the San Jose Police Department on procedural justice and implicit bias training.

"It is deeply personal for me to incorporate these changes and to have positive dialogue and a safe community for all our families," said Girma. She has two teenage boys and she wants their experience with police and the community to be positive.


"It's a partnership and we're looking for the platform of mutual respect," said Chief Eddie Garcia, San Jose Police Department.

PACT pushed for body worn cameras and other police reforms in San Jose. Now Chief Garcia is helping spread the work beyond his department inviting other Bay Area law enforcement to the event. There were more than 250 people in attendance and for the first time police chiefs from nearly every city in Santa Clara County joined.

"A very eye opening event. My group spoke of a lot of personal stories that were very emotional for some and it really opened my eyes to some of their experiences with law enforcement," said Lt. Hank Syu, Sunnyvale Police Department. Lt. Syu said there was a lot of helpful information he planned to take back to his department.

Families who've lost people during police interactions were heard.

"It's time for change and that's our main goal is to get to that point so that we understand each other," said Raul Maldonado, Gilroy resident.

Conversation, the groundwork for respect and better policing.