UPDATE: Police Chief Chris Moore sent San Jose Inside his answers to the 10 questions Sunday evening. We will be posting them soon. Thanks for your patience.
A number of readers have asked what happened to the weekly Q&A series San Jose Inside rolled out in September. Well, not a whole lot. We waited for our third participant in the series, San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore, to respond to some of your questions. And then we waited a little longer. And then a little longer.
From the time SJI asked readers to submit questions on Sept. 30, to when a list of 10 questions were submitted to the chief on Oct. 3, up until the end of October, a number of phone calls and emails were exchanged between SJI and SJPD. During that time,SJI was told that the chief was working on answering the questions and was almost finished—he just needed more time to complete them.
An Oct. 13 email from Jason Dwyer, a public information officer for SJPD, who, along with Officer Jose Garcia, participated in the discussions, passed on a message from Chief Moore:
“I greatly appreciate your patience in awaiting my answers to the community’s questions. It has been an extremely busy and turbulent week for our department. In the past few days, we have investigated three officer involved shootings (two of which involved SJPD personnel), as well as a double homicide. Understandably, I have been focusing much of my time on these matters. Thank you again for the opportunity to interact with the public.”
Now, it goes without saying that the police chief’s day-to-day public safety responsibilities are more important than community relations. For these reasons, SJI held out hope that the chief would finish the questions once things quieted down. But more officer-involved shootings took place, a motorcycle club battle began and protests at City Hall required extra attention. In a million-person city with a short-staffed department, there is always going to be more work to do.
SJI probably should have moved on to a new public official, as well as posted this rundown of events sooner. We were holding out hope, though, that Chief Moore would find a quiet moment to answer the questions from SJI readers.
We will pick back up with the series following the Thanksgiving break.
Below are the 10 questions that were sent to the chief.
What are you doing differently from Rob Davis to make sure officers understand how to work with San Jose’s diverse population—and with mentally ill residents?
You have stripped personnel from investigations to staff patrol, creating a situation where very few reported crimes will get the necessary follow up investigation. Why didn’t you redistrict the patrol division and scale it back to 12 districts again? This would have eliminated the need for the Southern Division command structure. If part of the reason is the inability to quickly and efficiently reprogram the CAD system, why was this system implemented, and wasn’t this done on your watch in BTS?
Why is the police department still handwriting reports or at minimum having to produce hard copies of each one? There has been a quest to implement a new RMS and VFR system since 1998 and not one has been implemented. What are you doing to rectify this problem, and will you hold people accountable if this system proves unworkable yet again?
Chief Davis said the city of San Jose needs about 1,700 officers to stay on par with the national average. Today there are fewer than 1,100 officers. It seems possible that this number could easily get down to 800-900 officers. How do you anticipate the department will function at that level? Thanks for agreeing to answer tough questions in this column.
How can we everyday citizens assist our police department through community policing? Also, please give us an idea of what NOT to do when we see a crime in progress. Thank you.
What percentage of police officers live more than 50 miles from San Jose? San Jose has reduced its police officers to a level that barely covers the city during normal times. In the event of an major disaster or emergency that affects thousands of residents, how many of the officers living beyond 50 miles, with roads blocked/airports closed, will be able to respond for duty within four hours to a major emergency like a earthquake, explosion, chemical/toxic spill, etc.? What are the city’s emergency plans, if any, to supplement city police force now that we have significantly reduced police force if other police department/mutual aid are also engaged in disaster or emergency work in their cities and are unable to assist San Jose?
— Concerned D6 Neighbor
You ordered ICE agents to go home. You stated the reason was because the ICE agents did their job and stopped gang homicides “completely” (no gang-related homicides since June, the same time the ICE partnership began). How many “gangbangers” did ICE deport to achieve this milestone?
— Where to Start?
A couple of weeks ago, on at least two different occasions, you told officers that if the sick time buyout was lost/taken away you were going to retire because you could not afford the loss of $200,000.00+ dollars (the value of your sick time). In light of the POA’s recent pension proposal to the city—it does away with the sick time buyout—are you going to retire if the city accepts the POA’s proposal?
— Where to Start?
Can you tell me how many supervisor/command staff positions have been demoted a step in rank and pay as a result of officers being laid off? How many detective positions have been cut as a result of officers being sent back to patrol in order to meet minimum staffing levels?
Many voters and residents do not understand the working relationship between police chief and your boss, the city manager. Please explain how much or little the city manager affects police department policy, budget, police procedures, salary/benefits or administrative issue.