Former SJ Police Chief Candidate Resigns

Some people thought it was only a matter of time until Anthony Batts would leave his post as Oakland’s chief of police following his public and unsuccessful bid to become the head of the San Jose Police Department. Those people were right.

Earlier this week, Batts decided to look for the door again, only this time there will be no uncomfortable homecoming. Batts offered the city of Oakland his resignation, which is expected to go into effect in about a month.

The competition to become San Jose’s chief of police in January became a contentious PR campaign as San Jose City Manager Debra Figone deliberated on who to select in a two-man race. Community activists lobbied hard for Batts’ hiring, while Moore had plenty of internal support. Moore was ultimately tabbed to stay on as chief after serving in an interim capacity. Batts returned to a department and community unsure of his long-term commitment.

In his resignation, Batts reportedly cited a lack of support from the city of Oakland, in resources as well as commitment to his tactics. The City Council declined to institute injunctions—curfew and strict loitering policies—Batts wanted to combat gang violence. Also, the number of people Batts reported to also rankled the chief.

Another possible reason for his resignation is the ongoing threat that the OPD will be placed under federal receivership, putting the department under federal control. This would be a significant black eye on any chief’s resume, especially for Batts, who many view as an up-and-comer in public safety circles. By leaving now, Batts retains a solid reputation and might even be remembered as a chief who refused to be put in a position where success was unlikely.

Meanwhile, Chief Moore has had to deal with the first-ever layoffs of officers in San Jose’s history, while the murder rate has soared compared to recent years.

It’s impossible to say for sure, but how do you think things would be different here in San Jose had Batts been selected over Moore? Would it be better, worse, the same?

Editor’s Note: Chief Moore was scheduled to answer reader questions for our Q&A series last week. Due to recent events, the answer portion has been delayed. We hope to run those answers soon. On Thursday, Chief Moore sent this message to San Jose Inside:

“I greatly appreciate your patience in awaiting my answers to the community’s questions. It has been an extremely busy and turbulent week for our department. In the past few days, we have investigated three officer involved shootings (two of which involved SJPD personnel), as well as a double homicide. Understandably, I have been focusing much of my time on these matters. Thank you again for the opportunity to interact with the public.”

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


  1. Chief Batts, if you think your hands were tied in Oakland can only imagine how your hands, feet and tongue would have been tied here by the other Chief / City Manager.  God bless, hope you find a city that lets the Chief of Police act like one.

    As for our Chief of Police delayed response = wait till the really Chief / City Manager gets back from her vacation, I mean citizen paid business trip to Ireland so she can censor the questions.

    Chief Moore, it is not like you are leading the investigations, that is why you have detectives.  Two of the shootings were misses.  And last I heard the chief does not investigate homicides either.  Trying interacting with your own patrol officers before you give us some lame answers.

  2. While it is nice to know that the Chief is aware that he has not yet answered any of those questions, I am disappointed at the rest of his message and at his response. I was in briefing after the first officer-involved shooting and after the double homicide – an incident in which I was personally involved. It would have been a nice move – indeed a meaningful show of leadership – for him to have come to those morning briefings and express to us… something. Anything. It would have been even better to hear that he appreciated the hard work of dozens of us, that he understood how dangerous it has become for us, with nearly a dozen assaults on officers in the last several months, that he admired our professionalism. I would have appreciated that more than an answer to my own question for him. It would have been a solid show of leadership from the top.

    • It’s been a while since we have had leadership around here, Landsdown and Wheatly actually stood up city administration and got things done.

      They were beat cops, MERGE officers, they knew what an officer goes through on the street.

      I remember working Christmas Eve back in the late 90’s, those two would come into briefing and give two officers with small kids the night off.

      Who know’s maybe one day the chief will grow a spine and join his troops.

      • But where he was really good was handling things on the back end so he didn’t have to front out his bosses publicly.  Lansdowne knew how to work the City Hall back rooms to make sure his department was taken care of and not publicly vilified.  He knew who’s back to scratch and who to slap around.

  3. Sorry to Say Chief Batts, you are a lucky man not to get the San Jose job.  This once proud city with a great public safety and employees is now a joke and under attack from our administration.  It will be a skeleton employee staff in the very near future.  I hope all citizens are preparing for the worst because it is not getting better anytime soon. 

    Time to lay off more employees and blame it all on the pensions, this story is getting very old.  Look in the mirror city council.

  4. If he would have come to San Jose, he would be tendering his resignation for SJPD instead of OPD.  Both of these agencies are neck and neck in a race to see which city administration can take the biggest dump on their public safety personnel.  If I were any rank at either organization I’d be shopping too.

    • Batts was smart, he got away from “Blinky” who used to be a Librarian turned Mayor.  I support his integrity to resign and move on, at least he’s not “Ball Less” like our Chief. 

      BTW- OffcierD Thank you and all the Officers for all of your hard work.

      Old Frank

      • If I were a betting man, I’d say Batts saw the writing on the wall with mayor wacko up in Oakland.  She is a disaster waiting to happen and I bet he didn’t want to be at the helm when the ship sank.  Sooner or later she will pull some stunt that lands her in the crosshairs of a grand jury investigation.  When the train is headed for a collapsed trestle, it is usually better to get off at the last station if you can.

  5. Ok, so the Chief isn’t answering questions in a timely manner because the officers have been busy. If I remember correctly, the original solicitation for questions was posted on September 30. The responses were to be posted the following Thursday,October 6.

    The San Jose double homicide was last Saturday (October 8)and San Jose officers were involved in shootings on Friday (October 7) and earlier this week (October 12). Unless he was really busy dealing with incidents from other agencies, which I doubt as even the second Sheriff’s Office shooting was on Saturday (October 8), I can’t find any reason why the responses weren’t posted on time. I don’t buy the “I was busy” excuse. Try something that someone might have a harder time disproving.

  6. Good for Batts. There was another chief of police down in the L.A. area that did the same in June. When you think about it, Davis did the same thing, but he was able to leave with the excuse of retirement. All the chiefs left with their dignity.

    They didn’t let some pencil pushing city manager or corrupt mayor that read a book about law enforcement get in their way.  But once they did, they did the honorable thing and left.

    These chiefs all had one thing in common, less officers on the street. San Jose PD, 400 less officers. Oakland PD 200 less officers. And if remember correctly that L.A. area police department was going to layoff 15 officers in a department that had 75 officers.

    My point, these chiefs are leaving because it’s only a matter of time before an officer gets killed. They do not want blood on their hands.

    With the recent events in the past month and the increasing assaults on police officers the citizens of San Jose should be furious!

    The mayor, city manager and city council should be embarrassed at what they have done to the best police department in the nation.

    And if a San Jose police officer does get killed, it’s the mayor, city manager and the city council that will have blood on their hands.

  7. “Maybe the retirement age for command staff could be raised from 50 to 60 to address this, or do we also need them able to scale fences and chase down perps?”

    Many agencies have a requirement for all sworn employees that at any time they must be able to put on a uniform and work the streets handling anything that they are asked to no different than a brand new rookie.  SJPD is unique in that they have managed to keep a couple of dozen or more “modified duty” positions open over the years for officers who cannot work the streets.  However, that is in the process of going away.

    Most agencies require that all employees of any rank be fit enough to “work the street” and if not, they force them out.  So, what will you do if they raise the retirement age to 60?  I predict you will see the amount of members putting in for disability retirement double and triple.  Street public safety work is a young person’s job.  60 years old workers cannot climb buildings, jump fences, wrestle 20 year olds, carry hoses up stairwells, chop open roofs, etc. 

    This is no different from the private sector.  Other than CalTrans, it is rare to see a 60 year old digging ditches, laying down roofing, putting up framing, or any other construction type labor.  As workers age, they tend to migrate towards supervision and management positions.  Now, in an unskilled job, age is a killer and many laborers find themselves out of work as they age.  But, in a skilled profession, maturity, experience, knowledge and training are valued even as physical ability goes down.

    Who do you want investigating a crime against a loved one, the seasoned detective with many years of experience or some young rookie handling their first case?  But herein lies the problem, how can you divide say a police agency into two separate groups, street cops and desk jockeys?  If you prohibit young fit officers from working the detective bureau until they cannot pass physical tests, you will find that recruiting applicants is near impossible, not to mention the multitude of discrimination lawsuits.

    What do you do as your agency ages and you have more members who cannot work the streets than you have physically capable officers?  Do you start forcibly retiring out the older officers in droves and hire new ones to take their place?  How many of those older officers will leave before their 60 year old goal as a disabled officer?  How does this impact the retirement systems?  How about all the lawsuits against the city if they deny a disability retirement since the line of disabled officers is out the door and around the block?

    You also cannot separate command staff from the rank and file easily.  That would be another legal boondoggle that would take decades to resolve.  By the time the dust settled, millions of dollars would be expended by both sides.

    • So I get the lead from the front mentality where everyone has to be fit enough to do a patrolmans job, kind of like the military.

      But there’s this thing I’ve noticed called institutional memory and knowledge where in public organizations you see certain leadership come and go (political appointees, elected officials) but other remain and become unelected leaders because of a combination of knowledge, experience, passion for the subject matter and longevity within the agency.

      The old system had a part-time council and professional managers running the city with folks on both sides usually serving a fairly long time, but in the end, the senior staff were always there and knew the way things worked better than any elected officials.

      This sometimes became a problem, if only on the PR side, as some people felt public servants were a power unto themselves and didn’t care for different opinions and viewpoints.  But like it or not, things got done and the organization ran smoothly.

      I wonder if our reforms and evolving systems of government might have taken us towards other problems as things seem to have become very political and it feels like the leadership is dispersed with some elected folks and some non-electic folks become the real opinion/policy makers.  I’d like to see some care put into preserving professional and institutional knowledge and moderating our political decisions by listening to and working with the in-house experts on things from planning to police work.

      So that’s why I think it might to nice to look at treating command staff a little different in terms of trying to keep them in place longer (60 for the retirement age maybe or other incentives like starting a seperate retirement vesting once you go from officer/sgt to command staff so that you’re encouraged to stay longer.)  You lose something when there’s really high turnover in terms of mid and late career workers (baby boomer retirements) and its worth looking for ways to mitigate this.

      • Blair, there is a flaw inherent in your reasoning about the command staff.  It seem that you are presuming that SJPD command staff are the most critical part of the organization.  The opposite is actually the case. The person most likely to come in contact with a citizen is a patrol officer, detective, or maybe a supervisor.  The person most likely to make a life or death decision with their finger on the trigger during a critical incident is going to be an officer or sergeant.  The person most likely to be responsible for solving a rape, homicide, robbery, molest, burglary, etc. is going to be an officer/detective or a sergeant. Leadership is important but no more critical than those that carry out the orders.

        When you start placing inordinate importance on the upper management of any organization and ignore the needs of those actually carrying the water, you are doomed to failure.  You can have the brightest CEO in the world but if you workers are inept, your company will fail.  Retaining quality employees of all ranks is crucial.

        Second, when you treat one set of employees entirely different than the other, you encourage a kind of class warfare.  Every organization public and private struggles with maintaining cohesiveness between line workers and management.  The more you make class distinctions between members, the harder it is to foster teamwork.  Many cities have successfully separated management from union membership.  While they use this divide and conquer tactic for contract negotiating purposes, the negative consequences are the loss of a combined effort and unity.

        Every officer and sergeant can tell you who the best lieutenants, captains and deputy chiefs are.  They will almost uniformly state that the ones they are most likely to respect and follow are those that don’t forget where they’ve come from and who are willing to get in the trenches and roll up their sleeves.  The ones most disliked are the ones that take great pains to remind line personnel that they are now special and above the fray, That they are better paid, better treated, and no longer part of the unwashed masses.

        The funny, yet pathetic, thing is that the solution to the PD’s problems are staring everyone right in the face.  The SJPD was an agency that was held up as a model across the country in terms of quality of service, hiring and training standards, cases solved, and overall performance.  Why was this the case?  Because the SJPD offered competitive wages, a great retirement package, good working conditions with much upward and lateral movement and a supportive community.  Reed and Figone have systematically taken away each positive reason for decades of public safety success through completely incompetent financial management of the city’s fund, a smear campaign against their own employees, and total disdain for those that are the worker bees across the entire city.

        The answer does not lie in some radical new program, the answer is learning from history.  Return working conditions to where they have been for decades and the quality of your public safety services will rise correspondingly.  Continue to place all the burden of poor city management on your unions and workers instead of placing the blame where it truly lies and you will continue to see San Jose spiral down the toilet as quality workers of all ranks seek greener pastures.

        Now, I suppose some will respond beating the same drum of unsustainable benefits but quite frankly, anybody who has bothered to do some real homework instead of just blindly gobbling up Reed’s lies would know that the city would not be in the mess that it is if it were not for Reed and his cronies outrageously bad leadership over the last 10 years.  It is easy to say “well, that’s water under the bridge, we just have to deal with it now” and institute draconian measures.  That is fine but each citizen should have a full knowledge of the consequences. If you want the bottom of the barrel public safety services, then that is what you will get if you are unwilling to compete with all the other opportunities available to quality candidates of all ranks, including command staff members.

        • Extremely well put. The patrol grunts and investigators do 90% of the work where the rubber meets the road. If there is some “institutional memory” I have, it is from the legendary police officers of the past, most of whom were never higher than a Sgt in rank. It is ridiculous to think this insitutional memory comes from the top down.

        • We have no good Chiefs.  The end.  Your right about one thing.  The officers have the most contact.  When you leave briefing with such a bad taste about the Lt’s and Capt’s the officers only go out pissed off.  The other night we sat around and discussed Capt’s.  Came up with two good ones.  kirby left.  That left us with one.  We just started rating Lt’s on lunch breaks.  2 hrs is the average.  Yea thats our life on the beat.

  8. Batts was probably never a serious candidate in the eyes of Fagone. He served nothing more than window dressing. The agency has been ill served by Fagone and her errand boy Moore. Moore is nothing more than a law degree academic who would rather sit in policy meetings than run this agency. His failure to effective lead this agency through one of the most contentious periods in its history has lead to widespread disillusionment and anger by the rank and file. He has no clue how to effective deploy his resources or bring the agency into the 21st century, all because his little police management books are devoid of information to help him. Instead he either hides in his office, hides in Figone’s office or runs off to DC to hide out with the policy wonks. Moore also elevated to AC a candidate so ill prepared for the position to cause further disgruntlement. What is happening to SJPD will be taught in future law enforcement management courses on how to totally screw up an agency and leave a lasting legacy of management incompetence.

    • Well put Bill, you speak the truth. He is Chief Harvey Milktoast in a rough and tumble times politically and on the streets. He makes retired Chief Davis looks like a tough guy!

      • Officer X Well Put!  But he is more of pansy and yes he does make prior Chief’s look aggressive, Old “Joe Mac” looks like a mobster compared to Moore.

        This mismanagement of City services and funds by Figone, Reed and Constant is horrific, we won’t get over this for many years to come. 

        Say hello to “South Oakland” that will be the new name of San Jose.  Unfortunately we are heading that direction at an alarming rate. 

        With that said, Do we really need the OAKLAND A’s?  It’s bad enough with the Pimp’s and Hookers Downtown already.

        Great Job Mr. Reed, you have succeeded in killing a once fruitful city with hope for another tech future.

        Very Sad,, Stop deleting and censoring posts

        Old Frank

  9. I’ve heard its harder to get your next job if you’ve already left your last one as there is a stigma for the unemployed.  Does this same hold true in Executive Recruitments?

    Hopefully he’s gotten some good years into CalPERS and has some options for the future.  Teaching?  Consulting?  Smaller but richer town needing a caretaker chief?  Is the Alameda County Sherrif an elected position?  If so, that might be an interesting way to go.

    It seems like in modern california government there’s certain jobs people work up to and then retire out of after a few years to max their pensions.  I’ve only followed this stuff passively, but it seems like big cities get a chief for 3-5 years max these days and then its time to annoint or recruit a new one.  “Rising Stars” come and go, using your community as a stepping stone to an even higher profile position.  Some also work there way up from within, paying their dues, doing the job from a deputy chief seat for awhile before stepping into the big job and lasting 3-5 years before going out also. 

    Maybe the retirement age for command staff could be raised from 50 to 60 to address this, or do we also need them able to scale fences and chase down perps?

    • Most retirement systems in California use CalPers.  In most of them you max out after 30 years.  So, if you bounce around to different public employers in the same system, you add up your years and when you hit 30, you no longer increase your percentage at retirement.  Therefore, there is really no motivation to stay beyond 30 years in one retirement system.

      Now, as for the argument against “double dipping” I would point out that the same situation takes place in the private sector, which so many people ignore.  If a private sector employee makes some good decisions with employers and have a skill set that is in demand, they can maximize their own career path to allow them to double, triple quadruple, etc. “dip” themselves. 

      Many corporate executives, and even mid-level employees, have taken advantage of stock options, incentives and other perks at a company and then move on to another company if a better offer comes in.  I know several people that did very well at start up companies as they hop scotched across the Silicon Valley landscape collecting stock and options as they went.  I don’t see anybody but the Occupy Wall Street crowd whining about people who made good job decisions in the private sector like they do for public sector employees.

      Of course not everybody does well in the private sector but neither do the public sector employees.  There are many public sector employees who are in jobs where even with a good retirement they still cannot afford not to work and have to move to another career if they want to live in the SF bay area.  I know of very few public sector employees who have done a full 30 year career and then do not work at all for the rest of their lives.  Those that do actually fully retire usually move out of state so they can afford to live on their retirement.  But, they are not alone.  Private sector people who have lots of equity in their homes are doing the same thing, seeking greener pastures and more for their money elsewhere.

    • Blair,

      When the administrators tie your hands, there is no reason to stay and just collect $$$.  I respect him for wanting to move on and he will land on his feet.  It takes a progressive city to hire such a man which we do not have either in SJ.

  10. Seriously doubt that Chief Batts was ever a serious contender. This Pathetic excuse for a City Manager doesnt want a leader , she wants someone she can lead… a dog. Chief Batts , you dodged a bullet and are much better off ,by never having been the Chief here in this toilet called San Jose

  11. Still waiting patiently for the chiefs response! Chief, you said you were too busy due to the crime spike and officer involved shootings recently. I think there has been ample time to respond to some basic questions. Please dont string us readers along. SJI, please request a response from the chief or halt these q&a articles.

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