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SJPD Officers Won't Participate in Silicon Valley Pride Parade for Second Year in a Row

The Silicon Valley Pride Festival is this weekend and for the second year in a row, Sunday’s parade won’t include San Jose police officers.

The police chief sent an email to the rank and file, saying officers will not officially participate again this year due to a requirement by organizers that participating officers not carry their firearms.

Both parade organizers and police officers said they are disappointed with the others’ decision but both say they’re optimistic they’ll reach a compromise for next year.
“It’s actually disappointing,” said Steve Aponte of the San Jose Police Department.

 It all stems from a dispute over the formal police uniform. The department asked to participate in full uniform. Silicon Valley Pride agreed, but asked for the officers not to wear their duty belt — including their firearms.

“We had originally asked Chief Mata to come in with a softer look,” said Nicole Altamirano, president of the organization. “To come represent with a softer uniform.”

In the end, the department said full uniform means just that, so they cannot march in the parade.

“That’s not something that the chief can decide upon or not,” said Aponte. “That is duty manual policy and is standard for all sworn personnel.”

Organizers say, much like the police,  they too are disappointed.

To them, allowing full uniforms was a compromise from last year.  

They say they feel they need to uphold the beliefs of the local LGBTQ+ community, which has had a complicated and sometimes traumatic history with law enforcement.

“The trauma and the history does not represent all law enforcement. But it’s still there. Understanding needs to come on both ends and not just ours,” said Altamirano.

While officers won’t participate in the parade, they will be out protecting it — in full uniform. 

Silicon Valley Pride said it even offered San Jose police and the sheriff’s department a recruiting table at the festival, with officers wearing their customary polos and concealed weapons.

SJPD declined, while the sheriff’s department accepted.

“They were just thrilled, ‘oh we can come back? That sounds fantastic,’” said Altamirano.

 Organizers said their offer still stands and they hope San Jose police change their mind by Sunday.

If not, they’ll go back to the drawing board and try to find a new compromise for next year.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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