San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel to Retire in 2016

San Jose police Chief Larry Esquivel announced his plan to retire at the beginning of 2016.

His Jan. 16 departure will mark the end of a 30-year career with the San Jose Police Department. Esquivel was promoted to the top cop position in 2013, after serving as interim chief following Chris Moore's retirement. Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia has been tabbed by City Manager Norberto Dueñas to serve as interim chief.

"It's been an incredible journey over the past three decades, and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else but here as a member of San Jose Police Department," Esquivel said in a statement. "It has been an honor to serve and protect while wearing this badge, and I will forever be thankful for the support given to this department and me. We have incredibly talented men and women at SJPD that we can be extremely proud of."

For the past few decades, Esquivel has worked in nearly every capacity in the agency, rising through the ranks until he was asked to lead the force. The San Jose native was hired as a reserve officer in 1984 and appointed as a sworn officer two years later. Over the course of his career, he has worked in patrol, narcotics enforcement, special ops, investigations, internal affairs, field training and management.

"After 30 years ... I feel it's time for the next generation to lead, which will open up leadership opportunities for others," he said. "I'm confident we're now on the right path toward stability and growth under our current leadership teams, and I know I'm leaving our department in very capable hands."


Below is the full press release from SJPD.

Photo of Chief Esquivel

SJPD Chief Larry Esquivel will retire in January.

San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel announced today that he intends to retire effective January 16, 2016, after 30 years of service to the San Jose Police Department. He has served as chief since January 2013.

"It's been an incredible journey over the past three decades, and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else but here as a member of San Jose Police Department," said Esquivel. "It has been an honor to serve and protect while wearing this badge, and I will forever be thankful for the support given to this department and me. We have incredibly talented men and women at SJPD that we can be extremely proud of.

"After thirty years, however, I feel it's time for the next generation to lead, which will open up leadership opportunities for others. I'm confident we're now on the right path toward stability and growth under our current leadership teams, and I know I'm leaving our department in very capable hands."

For the past three decades Chief Esquivel has served in almost every function of law enforcement as he was promoted through the SJPD ranks. He was hired as a police reserve officer in 1984 and was appointed as a sworn police officer in January 1986. Over his career he has worked in patrol, narcotics enforcement, Special Operations - MERGE Unit, investigations, field training, internal affairs, and administration.

"In the face of daunting challenges, Chief Esquivel's strong leadership and commitment to collaboration has steered our police department to keep our residents safe -- with the lowest rate of violent crime of any major city in America during some very difficult years for a workforce that lost hundreds of officers," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

"He will be missed. I congratulate and thank Larry for his long, successful career in service to the people of San Jose."

Esquivel was promoted to sergeant in 1997, lieutenant in 2005, and captain in 2010 when he served as Foothill Division Commander. He became a deputy chief in 2011 and was appointed Acting Chief of Police upon the retirement of former Chief Chris Moore in January 2013. He was officially confirmed as Chief of Police in December 2013.

"The past several years have been among the most challenging in the Department's history, and Chief Esquivel has provided strong and collaborative leadership to guide the men and women who serve and protect our community and to achieve greater stability for the Department in the face of daunting difficulties," said City Manager Norberto Dueas.

"Throughout his career and the many years I've known him, Larry has served as an excellent role model in the department, and he has earned the respect and trust from his fellow officers and our community while he opened productive communications channels, encouraged new ideas, and inspired top performance."

Photo of Assistant Chief Garcia

Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia will lead SJPD in the interim

Dueas also announced that he will name Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia to serve as Interim Chief after Esquivel steps down next January. Chief Garcia has served with the Department since 1992, and he has been Assistant Chief since January 2013.

"I'm confident both Larry and Eddie and their management team will continue to provide stability, continuity, and effective leadership to guide the department effectively during this transition," he said.

During his career with SJPD, Garcia has worked in patrol, narcotics enforcement, Special Operations/MERGE, community services and investigations. He became Deputy Chief in 2011 and led both the Bureau of Investigations and Bureau of Administration.

Under Esquivel's leadership as chief over the past several years, San Jose Police Department has made notable achievements that include:

  • Establishment and expansion of the Community Service Officers Program, which created a new civilian classification and an entire program from the ground up to assist sworn officers by responding to and investigating lower priority calls for service, so police officers are available to respond to higher priority emergency calls and have more time for proactive enforcement.
  • Expansion to Three Annual Police Academies. The Department began a new service delivery model for recruit training by partnering with the South Bay Public Safety Regional Training consortium to provide a POST-certified Academy, and starting this year three academies will occur annually.
  • Repurposing and opening of the South San Jose Police Substation to address operational needs of the Department and reduce costs by relocating the Training Unit, provide space for the additional Police Academy and the new Community Service Officer program, and facilitate Department fleet needs.
  • Launch of the Residential Security Camera Registry that enables residents and business owners to register the locations of their private video surveillance systems so that when a crime occurs, police can identify the locations of nearby cameras and enlist community assistance to help officers collect video evidence and follow up on leads.
  • Development of the Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program in collaboration with the San Jose Police Officers Association to prepare comprehensive body-worn camera policies and procedures, and to evaluate equipment and systems leading to possible grant funding, procurement and implementation in the coming year.
  • Adoption of a Language Access Plan that guides the Department in providing reasonable steps for working with persons with limited English proficiency and providing timely and meaningful access to available programs, services and benefits.
  • Creation of the first Youth Leadership Academy to provide San Jose teens with skills necessary to prepare them to become leaders within our community and teach them valuable lessons for working with the community and the criminal justice system. The TEAM Kids Program also was created for elementary schools to build positive relationships among police officers, students, staff, and parents. The primary goal of the program is to support crime prevention and youth safety with an emphasis on gang prevention education.
  • Formation of the Gang Suppression Unit staffed with highly trained officers that focuses enforcement efforts on criminal gang violence while collaborating with community and the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force stakeholders.
  • Re-established the SJPD Internship Program that provides the opportunity for college students to personally grow and gain an understanding of the law enforcement profession with San Jose Police Department. The program complements the SJPD Community Policing Strategy, and currently more than 30 interns are serving throughout the Department and are receiving training and exposure to many facets of law enforcement.


  1. I wish you well, Chief.
    Josh: Why no word on how high into the six figures the Chief will be paid in Comp time and unused vacation time upon his retirement? According to the city’s website, the Chief’s base pay in 2014 was $230,906.53, with 9,732.75 in other cash compensation. The city (well, the taxpayers, actually) also contributed $196,173.74 toward the Chief’s pension, and paid 13,208.52 for his medical, dental, and vision coverage. So, the chief gets 90% of over $200k for life, with annual COLA adjustments upward, as well as lifetime medical, dental, and vision coverage paid for by the taxpayers. How can he possibly survive on that? So, what’s the over/under on when he will take a new job?
    But that’s not the most pay at SJPD. Four police officers—not Sergeants, Captains, or Deputy Chiefs—made more than the Chief in 2014. The top earner on the entire City of San Jose payroll was police OFFICER Daniel P. Guerra, who made $319,976.23 total cash compensation in 2014; consisting of $102.772.80 base pay, a staggering $201,737.98 in overtime, other cash compensation (what’s that consist of?) of $15,465.45, $16,348.68 for medical, dental and vision coverage, and $92,573.96 was paid into his pension, plus $4,503.06 toward disability coverage!!
    Police OFFICER Hector M. Vasquez was the # 2 earner on the entire CSJ payroll. He was paid $295,441.59 in total cash compensation in 2014; consisting of $102.772.80 base pay, a staggering $181,587.98 in overtime, other cash compensation of $11,080.81, $16,348.68 for medical, dental and vision coverage, and $92,573.96 was paid into his pension, plus $4,503.06 toward disability coverage!! That’s right, these two cops, and several others, made more than the City Manager, the City Attorney, the Chief of Police, well, everyone else actually.
    SJ Insiders: Google City of San Jose Employee Compensation 2014 to see some eye-opening numbers. Fifty-one people made over $200k in cash compensation in 2014, 36 of whom had over $100k more contributed to their pensions by the taxpayers. Thirty-four of the fifty-one were either police or fire.

    • Regarding the overtime issue….this was the big solution proposed and implemented by your former mayor Reed and City Council, which includes Mayor Liccardo. This was repeated in at least two community meetings that I attended in which Mayor Liccardo proudly proclaimed this as one of his strategies to address the police staffing problem…have current officers work mandatory OT. Another solution was to increase the number of CSOs…community service officers.

      It was reasoned that this will be cheaper than hiring new police officers….which is plain loser-talk, and a sign that the City cannot hire any officers because of the dreadful political environment.

      I can’t imagine that officers like working mandatory OT because they too have families, and need time off to recharge. I do not envy their OT, nor do I begrudge them the OT they have earned.

      If you have a problem with this, then you must take it up with your council member and Mayor. Your venom is misdirected.

      • Engineer wrote: “I can’t imagine that officers like working mandatory OT because they too have families…” Imagine harder, Engineer. Officers Guerra and Vasquez didn’t earn $200k in a year over and above their base pay with MANDATORY overtime. They and a few dozen others on the SJPD worked their butts off and made over $100k each in VOLUNTARY overtime. They worked for it, and I don’t begrudge them their outsized earnings. Hey, that’s their choice and we thank them for their service, but I feel sorry for their wives and kids, if they have any of either. Venom? What venom? I simply laid out the numbers, Engineer. Surely an engineer understands numbers…or perhaps not in your case, because politics got in the way of clear thinking.

    • This is old but I wanted to leave a comment. Many businesses and private citizens like to hire police officers to work their events or as bodyguards. Police departments allow this, but some required that the payment be processed through their payroll. SJPD may have this same policy. It would make sense that many officers in the Bay Area are making the big bucks if you have SIlicon Valley businesses and billionaires hiring them on the side and paying through the department. I have a cousin who is a Police Officer in New York and makes the big bucks providing private security to some NYC billionaires. They have their own security detail but hire extra officers when they are holding important events in their home or just have extra family staying over.None of this side work is coming out of the taxpayer’s pockets.

      Some departments want to be transparent as possible and that’s why they require that these extra payments be processed through their payroll. There are some departments that also want to make sure that their officers aren’t working so much that they will be tired on the job. My cousin is divorced, and childless, so he is allowed to work more of these side gigs than the next cop who may have a wife and three kids who require his attention as well.

  2. Here is your problem. He gets to RETIRE AT AGE 50, He gets 90% of his salary, Medical and Dental free for life, 3% compounded each year for the rest of his life, he can convert his service retirement to a disability retirement and be paid his initial salary tax free for life. He has probably saved up his vacation time and sick leave like Ex Chief Chris Moore so that’s probably a $250,000.00 buy out. He can take another Chief’s job elsewhere and receive another $250,000.00 a year in fresh salary.

    Now if things had remained the same as of 1969 he would have to stay until age 65 to retire. When you look at all the Chiefs you have paid and retired in the last 15 years you realize that this chief cost you about $3,000,000.00 dollars a year in “Bouncing” Chiefs pay. The next guy will come in at the same salary and you will be paying for all the “Short Timers” before him. If a Chief in 2000 at age 50 had stayed till this year, the cost of that Chief would have been between $170,000.00 $250,000.00 a year instead of the multiple $170,000.00-$250,000.00 a year after each replacement or thereabouts. No wonder the Pension program is in the toilet and when Cortex makes enough investments you will all get vouchers instead of checks.

    The Taxpayers have no control over the City and the City has no control over the Police Department, cameras won’t help.

      • No, Toby, medical and dental is not free. Check out the website I noted above and you will see how much the taxpayers contribute to the lifetime medical and dental afforded to all City of SJ employees. Wake up, Toby, NOTHING is free. Someone always pays. In the case of public employees the main contributor, and sometimes the only contributor except for miniscule medical co-pay, is the taxpaying public. Get a clue, Toby. Most private sector employees would kill for the benefits given to public employees, and yet the retired public employees still whine.

    • George, Larry could have retire at age 50 but he didnt. Had he retired at 50 he would only have gotten 74% of his pay as a lower ranking chief.

      What is your police retirement worth after all these years of COLA’s and what exactly were the circumstances of your hasty exit?

    • He’s a fine man, and I wish him well. I don’t blame him for taking the money and running. I would have done the same thing. But this is the poster child for out of control costs brought on by public employee unions.

  3. Thanks for your service Larry and I hope retirement means spending your days in a little aluminum boat with the grandkids fishing at Lake Del Val. You came in as chief at one of the hardest times for the SJPD, and you handled it well.

    • I agree with your sentiments, Cousin Cortese. However, I’d be stunned if, at his young age, Chief Esquivel didn’t take another job in law enforcement. I know that if I were in his shoes, I would. He has too much experience to spend the next 30-40 years sitting in an aluminum boat. Consulting, rather than a 9-5 job in another law enforcement agency, would allow him the freedom to spend some great time in that boat with his grandkids and still give some jurisdiction the benefit of his extensive experience.

  4. Ese Chief Larry , you are by far the best Chief since Joe McNamara. Great job. I truly appreciate your intellect , your
    honesty , your administrative skills , and your loyalty as Chief of our great city. Thank you.

  5. To all the whiners about police pay. Why don’t you go apply and reap some of that overtime pay that the city will gladly pay you because they can’t hire enough cops to fill the void. Work on Christmas, the 4th of July, Easter, and work 16 hours days in between on a five or six day work week. If you have a family, you can see them too when you are not working or sleeping. After 25-30 years you too can retire and enjoy life if you make it there in one piece. Many cops end up with blown out knees, bad backs, and family relationships destroyed by divorce because eventually a spouse gets tired of doing it alone because the cop is always at work.

  6. In his complaint about the chief’s age at retirement, Nate Jaeger (true name: George Nathan Jaeger), once again demonstrates both his inability to get things right (the chief’s age) as well as his remarkable chutzpah. Imagine having the nerve to complain about someone retiring in his 50’s after three decades of steadfast service, when you yourself began feigning a disability while in your 30’s so that you could retire after less than eleven years of half-assed service!

    When George won his disability retirement (after an arrogant bureau chief botched an unethical but worthwhile scheme to rid law enforcement of this scoundrel), he was awarded half of the approximate $23k the real cops were earning (by way of their risk and effort), a sum George thought was sufficient to support him until his acting career took off. But alas, what poor George failed to realize was that he’d already exhausted his acting talents during his years pretending to be a beat cop and an honorable man. That eleven or twelve thousand dollar pension may have qualified as a suitable stake in 1980, but with the rising cost of living and his acting career tanking faster than Pierluigi’s political career, it was inevitable that George would soon be looking for another easy way out.

    About sixteen years after his inglorious exit, failure and desperation turned George’s eye back to the cozy comfort of the shirker’s life, so he sought a reinstatement that would quadruple his annual salary (cost of living adjustments had boosted his pension to $18k) and put him in the field and into a position for re-injury and another performance before the retirement board. But George miscalculated the capacity some have for unpleasant memories and he was invited to take his act elsewhere.

    A ballpark figure for George’s take from this city over the 35 years he’s been collecting is $625,000 — tax free. He could be a poster boy for screwing the taxpayers, yet here he is, on this site and many others, trying to pass himself off as a public-spirited whistleblower. What gall! Who does he think he is… a Kennedy?

    • Careful FINFAN, you don’t want to be accused of “definition of character”, or defamation by default.

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