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.”