It’s back to the drawing board for the city of San Jose.
Almost two months since the police chief retired, the city is still looking for a new top cop, and leaders have now paused that process for a couple more weeks.
The department has been run by an interim chief since Eddie Garcia retired in December.
Most of the finalists for the permanent post are currently top brass in the department. Another — Piedmont Chief Jeremy Bowers — previously spent 20 years as a San Jose officer.
“I think it’s good to also open them up to outside perspectives so we know what’s available out there,” City Manager David Sykes said.
After a nationwide search, the only true outside finalist — Minneapolis Chief Medaria Arradondo — withdrew his name from consideration last week. That’s when Sykes halted the process for two weeks.
“It’s just really also fulfilling our commitment that we made up front when we talked about this process with the council and with the community,” Sykes said.
The city said its citizens deserve a new perspective and wants more outside candidates to apply.
The new chief will run a department that is rebuilding after pension reform caused an exodus of officers. But he or she will also inherit backlash from the department’s response to the George Floyd demonstrations in May.
“I think the delay is warranted,” Raj Jayadev of Silicon Valley De-Bug said.
SV De-Bug, a police watchdog, has been critical of the selection process and wants a chief who will hold officers more accountable.
“We are selecting a police chief in arguably the most volatile and open time when it comes to what policing means in society,” Jayadev said.
In a statement, the San Jose Police Officers Association said it’s time to “stop kicking the can down the road.”
The POA said it opposes any lowering of the minimum qualifications and standards and insists further delays stall their ability to make improvements to the department’s operation.
The city hopes to have a new chief in place by the beginning of March.
Source: NBC Bay Area