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.
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."
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.