Recent Spate of Violence Spurs Community Vigil Tonight at City Hall

As San Jose copes with one of its most violent years in decades—22 homicides since the start of 2013—a group of community members will gather tonight to honor the memory of those lost.

Just this week, the body of an unidentified man was found in a shopping cart. The week prior, five killings were reported, and another man died this week after a fight days earlier.

Assemblymember and Speaker Pro Tem Nora Campos (D-San Jose), as well as her brother, San Jose Councilman Xavier Campos, have suggested the SJPD ask the California Highway Patrol to help quell the wave of violence. It was Nora Campos’ second request to SJPD for CHP assistance in as many years. But both times the police chief, first Chris Moore and now Larry Esquivel, have rebuffed the advice. SJPD has cited the different skill sets involved in patrolling city streets for gangs compared to standard CHP duties, adding that the department would prefer to have more of its own on the streets.

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley will lead the vigil, which starts at 7:30pm at the City Hall rotunda, 200 E. Santa Clara St.

Speakers include association president Kathleen Flynn, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Fire Chief William McDonald, Deputy District Chris Arriola and a few pastors. 

Families that have lost someone to violent crime are welcome to speak and bring photos of victims.

For more information, contact Flynn at [email protected] or call 408.861.5323.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

8 Comments

  1. What the chief said is right. CHP officers aren’t experienced in handling the types of situations and calls SJPD officers most commonly face. The two jobs are very different. CHP officers are trained in traffic enforcement and very proficient in that area. Traffic enforcement is only a tiny part of a SJPD patrol officer’s job. They wouldn’t be much help.

  2. What does the rank and file SJPD think about bringing in the CHP?  I know a lot of you post here, and I know a lot of people in the city government read this.

    • CHP is very good at their core service; enforcement of the Vehicle Code.  Certainly, there are individuals in their ranks that will excel at criminal investigations and gang intelligence.  Why would SJPD spend time and money to train outside Officers?

      SJPD has Officers with the skills and training already, but the Unit charged with that specific mission met the budget ax.  It makes much more sense, practically and fiscally to spend whatever extra money is thrown SJPD’s way in-house as opposed to a State organization.  CHP doesn’t work for free, just because you ask (or mismanaged the City).  To some extent, San Jose’s leaders need to be responsible for their choices and acknowledge that their public safety cuts have consequences to their constituents.

      You can’t take away a construction workers’ tool-belt and then complain when the house isn’t built right.  SJPD doesn’t need outside help, it needs resources to do the job citizens expect.  Some support from City Hall would be nice too, but that’s secondary (and unlikely).  If you REALLY want to fix the problem; “Show me the money!”  That’s what CHP would say and certainly what the rank and file say.  No one said public safety is cheap.

      “Trim the fat” turned into an amputation of services- now spectators laugh at the cripple in the race.  You can get another runner for that leg of the relay race, but until you buy a prosthetic there’s still a weak link.  The damage has been done.

      CHP is good at what they do, although they’ve suffered cuts as well.  Good people, but different mission and different mindset.

      “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.” -Robert Kennedy

    • We need Chuck and his clowns to stop the bleeding and stop putting all the blame on pension reform.  Don’t get me started on all the BS numbers.  Go back to negotiations and do so in a manner that is far to both sides.  Don’t offer a 1% raise in the contract that is in arbitration because the city is cutting every other benifit.  Chuck you approved prior contracts but the city did not put money where it was suppose to go in good times, instead you used it for pet projects.  Employees lived up to the contracts you agreed to.

      San Jose needs to hire more public safety that have been cut to below staffing levels.  You just spent another million to defend Measure B, money which could have been better spent than on a losing cause.

      This council (not all) just do not get it.

      Bringing in outside agency sounds good but it is not free either.  What special hidden fund will this come from?

    • The CHP will cost the city money, the city doesn’t even want to pay their own cops, why would they want to pay other cops?  This is the citizens chance to hold the elected officials accountable and not believe their hot air..Measure V and W were suppose to be the catalyst for hiring “hundreds and hundreds of cops”…Has it? NO…  Measure B hasn’t even been implemented (and it won’t) and police are leaving in droves.  San Jose has become a training city-San Jose taxpayers pay for the training and the neighboring cities get new hires at NO Expense to them, what a deal..Next time have a march/prayer vigil in the middle of Lincoln Ave in downtown Willow Glen or the Rose Garden or in front of the mayor/city manager/or council persons house. Peter Griffin has my vote for mayor, sorry PLO…Stay crappy San Jose

  3. I do not work for either SJPD or CHP , But it seems to me that this is simply a “Band aid ” Approach . San Jose does NOT have nearly enough Police Officers or Firefighters for a City this size. The Mayor and Council were both warned of the Mass Exodus that would follow the passing of Measure B . Didnt the Mayor say very publicly that the Passage of” Measure B” would allow him to hire even more Public Safety? So in the mean time we have lost valuable experience in the Public Safety that has jumped ship for greener pastures. The Crime wave will continue to grow , lets face it criminals know San Jose is Under staffed and vulnerable to the constant rise in crime.
    Its NOT that SJPD has anything against CHP , but im sure CHP has its own problems. Not to mention the cost of having CHP in San Jose. Ultimately it comes down to this , This @!#$ Mayor would rather pay outsiders than our own employees.
    Whats he going to do when Measure B is beaten down in the Courts?

  4. SJI- Thank you very much for posting the prayer vigil we are sponsoring with Star of David Ministries, and the City Peace Project. Tonight’s vigil is being held to honor homicide victims, their families, and Police and Fire.

    We are expecting are very large turnout, and many of the families who recently lost loved ones in the recent homicides in San Jose will be in attendance.

    We hope you will all join us as we come together in prayer, hope for the future, and to honor those who have lost their lives to senseless crime in our City.

  5. First of all its funny that both Mayor Reed and the city council have been pretty quiet during all these homicides.  The victim families should be pressing city hall for answers not the understaffed police department.  The police department has there hands tied, because of what city hall has created.  Sjpd has only about 911 officers for a city of 1 million.  Sjpd can’t even hire lateral police officers to work for them, because there not dumb to come here.  Sjpd loses officers every month and many more our planning on leaving.  Their homicide unit is spread thin working hundreds of hours to solve these cases.  CHP is not the answer.  The answer lies with the Mayor and city Council to do the right thing and swallow what ever pride they have left and admit things didn’t work out as you planned.