"... knows the legal system well ... can clearly convince anyone of anything..." P.V.

Contact Bernard Now

Is it Time to Again Re-Evaluate Police Training in Santa Clara County?

July 9th, 2009

Six years ago San Jose Police officers shot and killed Bich Cau Thi Tran, a young mentally ill Vietnamese woman, as she stood in her kitchen holding a vegetable peeler.  The case sparked a huge local controversy, including public protests, and cries from the local Vietnamese community and other concerned interest groups for better police training in crisis intervention and cultural sensitivity.  Last month San Jose Police officers shot and killed Daniel Pham, a young mentally ill Vietnamese man, who was holding a knife when police officers were called to his home. The event has caused many in the community to harken back again to the 2003 Bich Cau Thi Tran killing.

The San Jose Mercury News has reported that since the beginning of 2004, the year following the Bich Cau Thi Tran shooting, there have been 22 more police officer involved shootings in Santa Clara County.  10, or approximately half of those, have involved people who were confirmed to be mentally ill.  Of those 10 shootings, 9 were fatal.  A disproportionate number of those killed were Asian.

According to the California Sheriff’s Association and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 10% of all police 911 emergency calls statewide involve someone who is mentally ill, although in a 900 hour police academy officers only get about 8 hours of training in how to deal with the mentally ill.

The above reported statistics are troubling.  They demonstrate an obvious need for more focus on crisis intervention in emergency response training, where a heavy handed approach may not always be appropriate.

If you have questions regarding criminal justice issues contact San Jose Criminal Lawyer Bernard P. Bray.


Call Now: (408) 292-9700

Contact Bernard Now