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Public Safety

“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.”

-Supervisor Simitian

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.

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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.

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Independent monitoring of Sheriff’s Office Custody and Enforcement 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 jails required the Board of Supervisor's intervention. In 2016, Supervisor Simitian called for the creation of a fully independent civilian monitoring entity to oversee jail operations. In 2018, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance establishing the Office of Correction and Law Enforcement Monitoring (OCLEM), which provides the County of Santa Clara both with auditing and oversight of law enforcement and jail operations, as well as supplying the Board with expert policy guidance on these and other related issues. In January of 2020, OCLEM began its work.

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Wildfire prevention

To improve fire prevention year-round, and to give local communities the help they need to keep their homes, businesses, and families safe, Supervisor Simitian proposed that the County’s Central Fire Protection District expand its Pre-Fire Management and Wildfire Resilience program.

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County parks and County fire partner for prevention

To make County parks and neighboring communities safer, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a pair of agreements designed to protect and better manage fire-prone areas in County parks. In supporting the measure, Supervisor Simitian emphasized the importance of safe and responsible park management, especially amid the ongoing threat of wildfires in our region.

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Bolstering firefighting efforts

To improve firefighting efforts and bolster mutual aid resources in the region, the Board of Supervisors, with support from Supervisor Simitian, approved a contract enabling the Los Altos Hills County Fire District to fund the acquisition of a firefighting apparatus that specializes in the transport of water from a water source to a fire scene.

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Station 8 agreement

The County Board of Supervisors, with the support of Supervisor Simitian, approved a multi-jurisdictional agreement to provide an “all-risk” engine crew during wildland fire season at Fire Station 8, strategically located in Palo Alto’s Foothills Park. This action will bolster fire protection for communities adjacent to the Page Mill Road corridor from Skyline Boulevard to Interstate 280 during the wildland firefighting season.

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