All but one of the finalists angling to become San Jose’s next chief constable—namely Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Police Chief Larry Scirroto—have some sort of tie to the department, whether as current or former officers.
But with the day fast approaching for the city to fill the position, the local police union has been frantically lobbying for that position to go to a member of ex-Chief Eddie Garcia’s inner circle.
“One of the things that’s bothered me about this whole process is how incestuous it is,” a high-ranking city official tells Fly. “The people who end up in the top brass are either buddy-buddy, in-laws or somehow related to each other.”
City Manager Dave Sykes is expected in the coming week or so to issue a recommendation for one of four contenders: Scirroto, Interim Chief David Tindall and deputy chiefs Anthony Mata and Heather Randol. The San Jose Police Officers’ Association (POA) is making a strong push for either Tindall or Randol—the former who went through MERGE (SJPD’s version of SWAT).
“Almost everyone up there at the top is part of a group of friends, workout partners or even family,” affirms an observer familiar with the department’s inner workings.
“If you were part of MERGE, you get promoted,” another source goes on to say, “including [Garcia predecessor] Larry Esquivel and Randol’s husband,” retired SJPD Capt. James Randol.
“They call them the ‘Morgan Hill Mafia,’” another says of the command staff, “because pretty much all of them live in Morgan Hill.”
And pretty much all have seen “a pretty meteoric rise” to the upper ranks in no small part because of their personal affiliations, the source adds.
“That’s been the status quo for a while now,” they say, “and there’s a concerted effort going on behind the scenes to keep it that way.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Heather Randol worked in MERGE. San Jose Inside regrets the error.