City Attorney Looks into Coaching of SJPD Police Chiefs

City officials are investigating whether San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel and his command staff violated rules on accepting improper gifts, San Jose Inside has learned.

Last week, San Jose Inside published a report that found Chief Esquivel, Asst. Chief Eddie Garcia and other deputy chiefs shared emails routinely venting frustration with civilian oversight while also making fun of a crime victim. On Tuesday, City Attorney Rick Doyle confirmed that his office is looking into other emails that show the city’s top officers accepted free management coaching from a reserve officer who works as a sales and executive consultant by day.

“That is something that we are right now getting all the information and finding out, in a sense, what the scope of any coaching was,” Doyle said.

The inquiry comes on the heels of previous incidents in which Esquivel and his command staff accepted tickets to San Francisco 49ers games, which violated city and department policies. Esquivel told San Jose Inside that he and his staff were reprimanded for accepting the tickets and reimbursed the cost, but he felt the coaching services provided by Barry Rhein—who just last month was granted a concealed weapon permit—did not constitute a gift.

Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell told San Jose Inside that her office has not received any complaint based on the story. But if the coaching services provided by Rhein are, in fact, considered to be a gift, they would violate rules outlined in the SJPD duty manual.

“I believe the duty manual is very clear, that police officers, from the top down to the officer level, are not permitted to accept gifts of any value—unless those gifts are extended to everyone in the public,” Cordell said. “That’s the rule. There’s nothing ambiguous about it. And reimbursement does not excuse the violation.”

Josh Koehn is the managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

26 Comments

  1. It’ a real shame and sad that a person has to hunt and dig for dirt just so they can get another person in trouble. Karma.

  2. The SJPD leadership is not the best advertisement for Rhein’s abilities as a management coach.

    • Im guessing by “Sinking Ship” you mean the City of San Jose ? Please , anybody but this current Mayor and Council could do a better job

  3. The FPPC regulations define what is a reportable contribution and what is not. These FPPC regulations are referred to in the city’s gift policy. Basically if it isn’t a reportable contribution, then its not a gift.

    FPPC Rgulations:
    § 18215. Contribution.
    (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the term “contribution” does not
    include:
    (1) An expenditure made at the behest of a candidate in connection with a communication
    directed to voters or potential voters as part of voter registration activities or activities
    encouraging or assisting persons to vote, if the expenditure does not constitute express advocacy.
    (2) Volunteer personal services or payments made by a person for his or her own travel
    expenses, if such payments are made voluntarily without any understanding or agreement that he
    or she will be repaid.

  4. it’s always entertaining to see poiticians using “journalists” (nah, angry bloggers) to try and teach ETHICS to police departments -especially SJPD.

  5. In a world where everyone is as clueless as is LaDoris Cordell…

    Officer Jones would be disciplined for accepting a gift, based upon his receiving advice from a police reserve/full-time auto mechanic (working one night as his partner) regarding the reliability of a used car the officer was considering purchasing.

    Officer Smith would be disciplined for accepting a gift, based upon her receiving instruction from a police reserve/full-time personal trainer (working one night as her partner) regarding the best exercise for keeping her back from tightening up during a long night sitting in a patrol car.

    Part-time advisor Pete Constant would be guilty of receiving a gift based upon his accepting advice from a gasping city hall visitor/full-time dietician regarding which foods to steer clear of so that he might avoid fowling the corridors and elevators at city hall.

    LaDoris missed her calling… she should’ve been a schoolmarm in a Soviet Gulag.

    • Frustrated Fin Fan, again it seems all is wrong and you are right, our community needs better and you know that.; yet not on your watch. Take a back seat please, change has arrived.

  6. I seem to recall that councilman reed was whacked spending money that did not belong to him. Ala, George Jr.
    He went on to become a 2 timer as mayor.
    Gonzales built a meaningless bird cage of stainless steel, right in front of our eyes.
    WHAT?
    So here we are! Josh, I guess I have to ask, what the hell are we kicking our cops in the #alls.
    I lost my appreciation for Metro during RO’s , trying to take Mike Honda down. It’s the way this ugly system works, that Ro, the murky news and Metro, took this lovely man of the people, to dirt.
    Doyle, Cordell, Shouldn’t they be trying to solve the issues related to Children suffering from High Blood leads.
    What the Hell Josh. Can we get back to the reality of what makes us a village.
    Jay Harris, was on track, however, those goofy guys at the paper were being coached by the so called leading Hispanics!
    Fernando Zuesueta, Victor Garza. Ester Medina, Why go on, they are all some where under a rock!
    Josh, I have noticed hat the Metro is levitating into community issues and your Marijuana, and massage adds are fewer.

  7. I just want to know if the law firm who is handling the A’s lawsuit a free gift to city officials. Will they give the public free legal advise.

    • That is an excellent point. I would like to know the answer to that question, as well.

    • The Cotchett law firm represents the city itself, not city officials individually. But I would like to see the attorney’s contract with the city. Does anyone have a link?

  8. All you Almaden residents be sure to attend attend a community safety meeting tonight. Councilmember Khamis will be there to tell you he has the problem well in hand, and there is a “plan” to hire many more recruits very soon. It will be great theater. Maybe he can explain why in January alone another 30 or so officers left the SJPD. https://www.google.com/search?q=san+jose+mercury&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

    • > All you Almaden residents be sure to attend attend a community safety meeting tonight.

      You’ll be delighted to know, Mr. Observation, that Almaden residents took you’re advice and showed up.

      Probably, thousands of them.

      No parking within half a mile of the venue.

      And, FYI, they’re not mad at Khamis; they’re mad at SJPOA.

      • Obviously you didn’t attend the meeting. You should try to get out of your bubble once in a while. The crowd was quite upset with Khamis and his aids. You are comical. Lets start calling you “Southside spin machine” or perhaps “Clueless boy in the plastic bubble” SMH

        • Dear Reliable:

          Let’s be clear: I am OUTSIDE the bubble. You are INSIDE the bubble.

          One of us gets an adequate supply of oxygen. And the other one of us has an SJPOA bag over his head.

          • You beat the same drum over and over…. You are afraid of the real numbers. Let the final countdown begin toward the PERB rulings. Get out and smell the air pal. You have hoodwinked the simpleton SJ residents far too long. If the public saw the enormous amounts of money tucked away in all the “special funds” they would be shocked. A healthy city depends on a healthy public safety and infrastructure. Keep beating the anti POA drum, its fading hard as was witnessed in last nights crime meeting with your boy Khamis. Wow if there was any doubt about the council’s incompetence it came out last night.

  9. How come Johnny Khamis is so afraid of constructive critical comments on his public FB page, regarding crime in SJPD, that they are almost immediately deleted? Grow a pair, Johnny.

    • You have to wonder if someone is sitting there on City time and deleting those post? Who has that kind of time in their personal life? Josh, there is something to investigate.

    • I wonder if south side bubble can comment on the fact that khamis won’t allow fb posts of critical questions and why they required questions for last nights community meeting to be submitted in writing several days ahead. Transparency in SJ? Surely you jest…..

      • Probably because people are idiots and instead of posting in a logical, non-inflammatory tone they post ugliness. I have my wall settings set to “Hide all posts from friends” for the same reason.

      • > why they required questions for last nights community meeting to be submitted in writing several days ahead.

        Did you imagine that thousands of people showed up to sit quietly and listen to your personal kvetching on the SJPOA’s narcissistic and crackpot ideas?

        They were trying to filter out the political tinfoil hats.

        It happens at every large public gathering where people want to make speeches and not ask questions.