Police Chief Chris Moore Retiring

San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore will announce at a 2pm press conference today that he is retiring at the end of January 2013. David Vossbrink, the city’s communications director, confirmed that a national search for a new chief will be launched this week.

“We’ll want to get on it right away,” Vossbrink said. “It’s obviously a critically important position. It will be a national recruitment, We certainly welcome internal candidates, but we know that process is good for the department and the community.”

Moore shed the interim police chief tag in February 2011, after taking over the role from Rob Davis in October 2010. During his time as chief, Moore was forced to manage a department that saw 66 officers laid off and others leave through retirement or transfer. Meanwhile, the city cut officers’ pay and aggressively pursued pension reform.

In addition to a drop in department morale, this summer Moore received criticism for the rise in violence as the murder rate outpaced last year.

There was some speculation in early August that Moore lacked the support of his officers, and a no confidence vote was taken by the Police Officers Association‘s board of directors. Sources say that vote was overwhelmingly against a vote of no confidence.

In November 2011, San Jose Inside posted a Q&A between Moore and readers, who submitted questions. In that Q&A, Moore addressed concerns about him retiring if sick leave payouts ended.

Here is that question and answer:

Q: A couple of weeks ago, on at least two different occasions, you told officers that if the sick time buyout was lost/taken away you were going to retire because you could not afford the loss of $200,000.00+ dollars (the value of your sick time). In light of the POA’s recent pension proposal to the city—it does away with the sick time buyout—are you going to retire if the city accepts the POA’s proposal?
— Where to Start?

A: I, along with all other City employees, am paying close attention to the pension reform negotiations currently underway at City Hall.  Every one of our city employees will be facing some tough decisions as the presumed ballot measure takes its final form. Many senior staff throughout the city are waiting to see what the final ballot language says before they make any retirement decisions. As for me, I am proud to have served in the San Jose Police Department for over 26 years. Although I am eligible to retire, I enjoy my job very much and I hope to stay for several more years. 

Obviously, something happened during that time to shorten his time on the job.

Moore had the interim title removed after City Manager Debra Figone selected him over Anthony Batts, who was serving as the police chief of Oakland at the time. Batts left the Oakland Police Department in October of last year.

There was a mixed reaction to Figone’s selection of Moore. Some community activists preferred Batts, while others felt Moore had all the necessary qualifications.

POA President Jim Unland, then vice president of the police union, said at the time: “Chris Moore is a star, so if he is the pick, yeah, we’ll be very happy about that. Quite frankly, as the community gets to know him better they’re going to be real impressed with him.”

In addition to the outgoing chief, Assistant Chief Rikki Goede, other members of the SJPD command staff, Figone and Independent Police Auditor Judge LaDoris Cordell will attend the press conference. Members of the City Council and Mayor Chuck Reed have also been invited to attend.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

13 Comments

  1. Between Lansdowne, Davis, Moore, and his replacement, the office of Police Chief will soon be costing us taxpayers close to a million dollars a year.
    Maybe we should dissolve the position.

    • J.G. the Office of the Chief needs to be an elected position. I believe you would see greater longevity and more opportunity for qualified individuals to offer up unique points of view and solutions. One of the realities that has been met with resigned acceptance is that the Chief is nothing more than an administrator muzzled by the political climate and whims of a City Manager who the rank-and-file perceive to be a vindictive harridan. Although we all hate the fact that the Chief has not been an outspoken advocate for those at the PD, we all understand that actually telling the truth would be tantamount to career suicide. The truth is so unpalatable, so politically toxic, and so damaging to Reed+5 and Figone, that they would have no choice but to try to discredit him by firing him and humiliating him at the same time. Don’t believe me? Read between the lines on the following memo:

      http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/Agenda/20120918/20120918_ss1.pdf

      No one at the PD has ever said that reforms aren’t necessary, and we all were willing to negotiate in a manner that was above board and lawful. We have also been deeply interested in making those negotiations entirely public, but it is city officials who refuse to do so.

      Mayor Reed recently said he wants to try to restore staffing levels with savings from Measure B. What savings? Even if Measure B goes into effect, it won’t be until the question of its legality is resolved in court and that won’t happen for years. The only savings the city has enjoyed – the recent surplus – are solely because city employees and especially cops are leaving in droves: well over a hundred have resigned, many more have retired, another 9-10 resigned in the last two weeks and the POA has been processing around 160 background packets, additional officers who are looking to leave SJPD for more responsible and ethical employers. And, as shocking as that is, especially for its visibility, the problem is just as dire with communications; dispatchers and call takers, too, are leaving in droves for better employment all across the state.

      We are seeing the free market at work, and San Jose’s citizens are suffering the consequences for Reed’s dishonesty, avarice, vanity and pride (deadly sins anyone?) and that of those who supported him. Again, common sense reforms could have been negotiated legally, but this is the legislative equivalent of fixing a broken hand by amputating the entire arm. And, by continuing with his tired, patently false, scripted talking points, rather than cutting off his nose, Reed gives himself a lobotomy to spite his face. The whole situation is just ugly and absolutely will not improve anytime soon so long as Measure B remains the threat to fair and reasonable employment that it is.

      • I agree. Figone and reed+5 have messed this situation up so bad, I don’t think it can be repaired. Employees are bolting so they can get to safe shore before the ship sinks. The only employees that will remain are the ones who can’t swim.

  2. The COP needs to be an elected official. Any of the citizens that support Measure V W and now B should be all for this right??? Think again do gooders. The council and mayor DO NOT want you to decide on this job. Why not? Hey they want your vote to give them more power to ruin the department then why wont they give you the power to pick a new chief? Hello anyone have the answer or is every citizen too stupid to see this? Wow San Jose and its voters are a joke!!! You get what you asked for… Keep your heads in the sand. Fig and Reed will do the right thing! LOL

    • Thereliableinformer,
      That’s not a bad idea! We vote for our County Sheriff and our DA, why not vote for our Police/Fire Chief, and our IPA?

  3. Please go outside the department.  We need a change and do not need a politically choice like the ACOP.  Time for a seroious change but who wants to work for Deb and Chuck!

    Good for Chris to take his big cash buyout so the Meck can slam his as well.  He is a lousy COP but not an idiot when he gets his big fat check which the city signed off on!

    Mercky News will have fun with this one.

  4. So how much are we going to pay a search consultant to find a new chief? Can we sue Moore in civil court, we paid a lot of money to identify him and he stayed less than 2 years, we didn’t get our money’s worth!

  5. Kathleen, I completetely agree. Citizens should be able to vote for Police Chief, Fire Chief and for the IPA. Frankly, as disappointed as I am that Chief Moore is leaving, I can’t blame him. The problem of attrition is so significant that resignations and retirements are occurring at every level. A lieutenant(!) just recently resigned and went to another agency here in the bay area. This will not end until Measure B no longer threatens our livelihoods and well being. There is no amount of hiring that will offset the issue of attrition.

    And, as to Richie Rich, your words are those of an entitled ingrate. You’ve gotten your pound of flesh and more from the PD. If that is your attitude about the chief, then what is your attitude towards all those other officers who left? Do you somehow think you are entitled to a refund of the costs to train and recruit all those officers, sergeants and lieutenants as well? They have sacrificed family time, holiday time, time at games and recitals, and, right now, it is obscenely difficult to even get any vacation time. HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU WANT? People used to think of the job of law enforcement as an honorable and respectable profession and used to respect and appreciate the sacrifices officers made to keep the community safe. Clearly, that is no longer the case, either at City Hall or to the average Joe on the street. But, at what point did the honorable profession become an act of charity and an obligation borne by a select and unique few?

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