Police Chief Search Down to 2 Candidates

It looks to be a two-man race in determining who will be the next chief of police in San Jose. Reports state City Manager Debra Figone will make her decision by early February, and the final candidates appear to be acting police chief Christopher Moore and Oakland’s current chief of police, Anthony Batts.

Filling the position permanently has been on Figone’s agenda since Rob Davis announced last July he would be retiring. Moore took over the role on an interim basis in November.

The key difference between the candidates appears to be that Moore is a familiar presence throughout the San Jose department, having served in a variety of command positions, while Batts would bring in a fresh face after a successful seven-year stint in Long Beach before coming to Oakland last year.

San Jose’s police have been the target of increasing criticism for heavy-handed law enforcement practices in downtown — most notably the videotaped beating of a Vietnamese San Jose State University student in 2009 — and many community activists have been calling for a permanent chief who is a minority and/or female.

Both candidates are male, while Moore is white and Batts is black.

Batts has received praise in the first 12 months of a three-year contract he signed with Oakland last year, despite having 80 officers cut from the force and a community outreach program abandoned. Homicides in Oakland decreased more than 10 percent under his direction, which could be a crucial factor in Figone’s decision considering there have already been five in San Jose this year after 21 in all of 2010.

Moore is widely respected within San Jose circles, and his credentials include a Fulbright Police Research Fellowship. One drawback could be that he was promoted by Davis, who was widely unpopular at the time of his retirement.

Figone reportedly intends to bring in both of the candidates for a closed meeting with the city council, which last week adopted a memo with 21 questions it wanted potential candidates to answer.

San Jose Police Chief Position Between Moore, Batts.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. “… many community activists have been calling for a permanent chief who is a minority and/or female.”

    That’s just not good enough!  The new chief should be a “Five Star” hire:  female, black, lesbian, handicapped and ex-military.  Nothing short of that is acceptable.

  2. I have worked in Civil Rights for some 30 years now, and it never ceases to amaze me how the very people who claim to be fighting for equality, don’t see or acknowledge their own bigotry. To demand that our next Chief, IPA, or whatever, be a certain gender, or race, sets back Civil Rights efforts decades!

    As the great, and beloved Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said,

    ” I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

    I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

    I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    I have a dream today.”

    When we demand that our leaders, or positions within government be filled by people of one race, or gender, or sexual orientation we are corrupting the process of getting qualified people into those positions.

    Further, when candidates for a certain position give interviews with the press, during the interview process, they are acting with self-interest and not valuing the organization they are applying to, or respecting the qualifications of other candidates applying for the same job. It seems to me that the press is deciding who gets the job, and not community panels, the City Manager, or the Mayor and Council.

    The media has basically applied enough public pressure on the City Manager/Mayor/Council; to make any choice they make a difficult one because if it is not the individual they want, they will systematically defrag their chosen candidate.

    How is this a fair hiring practice, and one that allows for those to get a job based on their commitment to our City, and our community?

  3. Can this community tolerate yet another Chief Davis? California leads the nation in hate crimes. I wonder if they have included the crimes against those folks that were simply enjoying the night life created by the Mayor’s office and City council down town. RDA’s 24 hour down town. What brillant bean counter thought that one up?
      We don’t need some split tongued politicion, to massage our feelings of complete disrespect that has kepted most of us out of the Gestapo Alleys of San Hos’e. San Jose has fallen to be a discusting late night money making guetto. Thanks RDA!
      One can only run so long. Altimately we all have to demand respect. A class action suit against the police profiling and abusive methods adopted by the Davis cowboys would be very entertaining..
      I can no longer tolerate seeing my friends and neighbors harassed by the likes of the SJPD. And more recently by the DA’s office of the DeAnza rapings.
      I have been in a position of abuse by the cops. I still feel as though I had been raped and no body was hearing my silent screams. The cop that had his fill with me is some where out there living his ugly miserable life, as most bullys do. Alone! 
      With the economy headed for Hell, A Chief Davis appointee would create an atmosphere of mistrust and
    division of communities, unlike we have ever known.
      Jerry Brown Take Them Down!!!
      As the crooks we trust in, get more sophisticated, We but have to follw the money. After 3 billion RDA dollars, what did each of us wind up with? Now “That” really pisses me off!

  4. Seems as if Figone has selected 2 highly qualified final Police Chiefs

    If Batts is selected by Figone, San Jose will have all 3 top public safety jobs ( Police , Fire and IPA ) filed by blacks.

    Not that they are not all well qualified but probability of bias selection by Figone seems high when all 3 selections are black

    Is it that bias only happens or is claimed if whites are selected   The same as minorities can not discriminate against others as is claimed by liberals and minority leaders

  5. If Figone and Reed want to send a message to police officers by selecting Chief Batts who laid off 80 officers and reduced Oakland crime  

    POA’s 2 choices are:

    1) give back 10-15% pay and pensions while retirees give up automatic 3% COLA

    2) face 50 – 90 layoffs

    Spending another $ million POA dues on mailers will not change 2 choices Figone and Reed are giving POA

  6. Welcome Chief Batts:

    The POA does not intend to give back. Call us every name in the book. We gave back $ last year, not this year. I also pay over 20% of my gross towards my retirement. I pay for all of my uniforms, repair, upkeep, and pretty much everything else. If you think the POA will be hurt by layoffs enjoy waiting a hour the next time you call 911. BTW, Nortenos and Surenos know VCET is gone and the PD have ZERO support from FIGONE and REED. Gang related homicides will continue for the foreseeable future. Happy New Year!

  7. Has anyone read the articles from down south about Chief Batts and his problems with domestic violence?  What is the story behind that?  I am hearing polar opposites from lots of people about him.  On the one hand he has a good resume and some of his Oakland cops like him.  On the other hand some of his former cops down south say he is arrogant, condescending, and rude.  What is the truth about this guy?

  8. I totally agree with Kathleen/Christian. Why should someone be chosen for a position based upon their appearance? I understand that communities who feel they are targeted my police believe that by having someone of color in that position it’ll just all of a sudden make things peachy. The new police chief should be chosen based on merit, experience, goals for the department, education, a good problem solver, leadership, and integrity.

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