With word that Chris Moore will shed the interim tag to become the permanent chief of police in San Jose—he was reportedly selected by City Manager Debra Figone over Oakland chief Anthony Batts—reactions are as varied as they are passionate.
Jim Unland, Vice President of the San Jose Police Officer’s Association, said if Moore is in fact the next chief of police, Figone made a great choice.
“Chris Moore is a star, so if he is the pick, yeah, we’ll be very happy about that,” Unland said. “Quite frankly, as the community gets to know him better they’re going to be real impressed with him.”
Moore, 49, has been with SJPD for 26 years and has worked in nearly every division of the department while being groomed to become chief by the recently retired Rob Davis. Figone will be informing the City Council of her selection in a closed session Monday, and the council would have to ratify her decision with at least six votes out of 10 in favor.
Not everyone seems to be quite so happy, though.
Several ethnic community groups held a joint press conference Friday at Silicon Valley DeBug’s office on Lenzen Avenue and called on the council to veto Figone’s selection, if it is in fact Moore.
“We want to send a message to the City Council, Mayor Chuck Reed and ask that they re-open the process next week,” said Richard Konda, executive director of the Asian Law Alliance and DeBug’s chairperson. “Moore’s been here a while but most of us haven’t had any contact with him.”
Walter Wilson, who was representing the NAACP and the African American Community Services Center at Friday’s presser, said Figone failed to follow-through on her pledge to accept the information she was given at forums voicing the concerns of minority groups. Wilson added, however, that Moore “deserved credit” for steps he has taken as interim chief.
San Jose Councilmember Pete Constant said he understands not everyone will be happy with Figone’s decision, but he added she has gone “above and beyond the call of duty” in getting community input.
“Their job is to help inform the decision, not make it,” Constant said.
While Moore has yet to comment on the situation, Batts took a defiant tone in his first interview since it was announced he was trying to leave Oakland just a year into a three-year deal.
“This police department is underfunded and is in need of the very basics to get the job done,” Batts said according to the Oakland Tribune, which also reported that Batts wanted to be quoted by name alone, not as the chief of police. Outrage over Batts’ attitude has resulted in restrained headlines such as this.
Here in San Jose, though, the attitude is one of optimism now that the process appears to be near completion. Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold offers praise for Figone’s selection. It shouldn’t be long until he offers a new column with his keys to success.