"No Regrets" For San Jose's Outgoing Chief

Police chief proud of his tenure; critics "glad to see him go."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis talks about his life as a cop.

    San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis glared at family pictures on a desk he will soon have to relenquish.   Chief Davis is retiring next week after spending nearly three decades on the force.

    "In terms of regrets," said Davis "How can you have any regrets when you're always trying to do the right thing for the right reason."

    Davis has been chief for almost seven years. He's worn the uniform of the San Jose Police Department for almost 30.

    "I have developed this great relationship with the overwhelming majority of people in our community," said Davis.

    Davis, a Mormon by faith, has lived in San Jose since he was 12. He initially wanted to be a lawyer, but instead rose up the ranks in the deparment, serving as head of several units, including the gang team.

    He was sworn in as chief on January 13, 2004, and is credited with bringing technology to the department, even though it has been mired in budget cutbacks through his entire tenure.

    Some of his accomplishments

    • As chief, Davis issued all his officers stun guns.
    • He now dispatches officers based on their location via GPS readings, not simply by their assigned beats.
    • He introduced the Axon, and ear mounted camera with audio for officers.

    "Make no mistake," said Davis. "We have brought this department into this century, technologically. And we're bringing the nation along as well."

    His ride through the ranks that ended as the top cop has had its bumps. Last year, 11 community groups called for his resignation, claiming officers were targeting Latinos.

    Richard Konda of the Asian Law Alliance said his community has had it with Davis. "For many people in the Asian community," said Konda, "There's a lot of fear about even calling 911." Asencion Calderon is also among those critical of the chief.  Calderon settled a lawsuit with the city after claims police roughed up the 70-year-old in 2005. "I wish him well," said Calderon of Davis. "But I'm glad to see him go." Caldero says he's still haunted by his experience.

    Davis said what happened to Calderon was a regretable, but called it an isolated incident. Davis insists he stil has the support of most of the ethnic community in San Jose, especially Latinos.

    "Make no mistake about it," said the chief. "The Hispanic community has a great relationship with the San Jose Police Department."

    In a recent statement about his retirement, mayor Chuck Reed said, "He's done a great job for our city, and I'm sorry to see him go."

    Davis won't tip his hand as to what life will be like after retirement. His last day is next Friday, October 30.  The city manager predicts it'll be another three months before she picks his replacement, after getting a lot of input from the community.

    Debra Figone has already held many meetings with communtiy groups, seeking input on the ideal replacement. Assistant Chief Chris Moore, will be promoted to Acting Chief in the interim.

    For Rob Davis, he'll soon turn in is badge No. 2097 with no regrets, after 30 years as one of San Jose's finest.