SJ Police Chief Mata Retires to Take Job with DA

San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata said today he is leaving his post to join Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen as head of the DA’s Bureau of Investigation “in a new capacity just across the street.”

Mata announced at 10:30am today that he will retire at the end of March, after 28 years with the San Jose Police Department, including three years as chief. At noon, the press release from Rosen’s office announced Mata’s new appointment.

Mata’s stint as chief began in the wake of protest and allegations of unnecessary police violence during protests, and continued in the midst of the Covid pandemic, a succession of police misconduct scandals, and calls for reform and transparency as citizens and politicians cited crime as a top city problem.

As police chief, Mata supervises 1,700 employees, of which nearly 1,200 are sworn officers. His DA team includes about 90 investigators. He begins his new position April 1.

In a statement, Mata said he was excited to move from one top law enforcement organization to another: “This is my community and my honor to continue to serve it with a mission to protect public safety.”
“This decision was not easy, but after careful consideration, I believe it is the right time for me to embark on a new role with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office,”  he said in a statement. “I am incredibly grateful for the support and encouragement I have received throughout my career.”

“I have full faith and confidence that the unparalleled commitment to this community and the high standards that have made SJPD the leader in our profession will continue.”

The city made no announcement today about an interim chief. “The goal is to announce an interim chief of police and begin the recruitment process before Chief Mata retires in March,” said San José City Manager Jennifer Maguire.

“I want to thank Chief Mata for the years he has given to San José,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan in a statement. “Safety relies on mutual trust and respect between law enforcement and the community — and during his tenure as chief, Tony has won both the trust of the neighborhoods he protects and the respect of the force he leads. He strived to build a more transparent and accountable police department.”

In announcing his departure, the city praised Mata for his 28 years of service with the city, listing as his accomplishments the department’s first strategic plan, increasing diversity through the sworn officer ranks and “managing hundreds of police reform initiatives.”

Mata started his career as a San Jose police officer in 1996, working his way up the ranks to become chief in 2021. The Chicago native received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Illinois, Chicago and his Master of Arts in Public Administration from San José State. He is bilingual.

Mata earned $342,318 in 2022, according to salary information reported by the city to the California Controller’s Office. The DA’s chief investigator was paid a salary of $251,094 in 2022, according to the controller’s report.

Mata replaces Moises Reyes, who retired in December after three years as investigations chief. Melisa Meyer, who has been with the DA’s Office for 25 years, is serving as interim investigations chief.

Rosen praised Mata’s “deep local experience and elite leadership skills.”

“Chief Mata and I …share a vision of a criminal justice system that is safe and fair for all,” said Rosen in a statement.

Mata joined the San Jose Police Department in March of 1996. He has a master’s degree in public administration from San Jose State University and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also a graduate of the Police Executive Research Forum's (PERF) Senior Management Institute for Police.

Mata served in all ranks of the SJPD – including as a homicide detective, patrol officer and deputy chief.

 

Three decades of journalism experience, as a writer and editor with Gannett, Knight-Ridder and Lee newspapers, as a business journal editor and publisher and as a weekly newspaper editor in Scotts Valley and Gilroy; with the Weeklys group since 2017. Recipient of several first-place writing and editing awards, California News Publishers Association.

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