Search For New SJ Police Chief Begins

After months of intense discussions over police reforms and policies in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, San Jose has begun a national search for its new police chief.

No matter who is selected to replace current Police Chief Eddie Garcia—who in August announced he would be stepping down after 28 years on the post—it’s safe to say the city has made it a point to involve the community and make sure the public has some say in the process.

“We’ve probably had well over a dozen community meetings on Zoom so far,” Lee Wilcox, chief of staff to the city manager, said in an interview with San Jose Inside. “And we’ll be continuing that process through the end of the year. We’ve definitely increased levels of opportunity for engagement.”

As expected, the city has hired a recruiting/consulting firm that specializes in police recruitment to conduct the national search, though internal candidates are obviously up for consideration as well.

“There’s really no name I can give you as to who is up for consideration,” Wilcox said. “I honestly don’t have a single name. I imagine we’ll have a lot of qualified people (as the recruitment process ramps up).”

Candidates have until Dec. 31 to apply before Public Sector Search & Consulting Inc. starts conducting interviews and narrows down the list in early January 2021. A new police chief is expected to be announced in mid- to late January.

Among the dozen meetings with the community so far, the city has held two entirely in Spanish and another two meetings entirely in Vietnamese, a nod to the heavy percentage of those populations in the city.

Given today’s political climate, San Jose’s next police chief needs to balance the needs of the community, play a significant role in police reforms and ensure department policies and actions are consistent with the ever increasing need for progressive policing practices.

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