San Jose City Council to Vote on New Police Chief Questions

Chief Chris Moore's last day on the job is Jan. 18

The San Jose City Council on Tuesday voted on the questions the new police chief will be asked to replace outgoing Chief Chris Moore, who announced last fall that he'd be retiring with less than two years on the job.

Moore's last day is Jan. 18; his retirement dinner is next week.

City spokesman David Vossbrink said on Tuesday the manager's executive recruiter has been screening candidates and the goal is to bring the new chief nominee to the council by the end of January or early February.

"We're keeping it pretty close," Vossbrink said, not wanting to detail how many people have already been interviewed.

The city paid the executive search firm Teri Black and Co., based in Los Angeles, about $40,000 to help find the new top cop. And that's on top of soliciting comments from San Jose residents: Last month, there were five community outreach meetings regarding the new chief.

As for Wiggsy Sivertsen, a prominent member of the city who also sits on the chief's community advisory board, she thinks many of the questions the city council will ask are good, but she did, have a few other things she wanted asked.

"San Jose has very few women on the force compared to other departments," she said. "I would also ask a candidate how they would improve relationships with diverse groups including the LGBT community."

Sivertsen also pointed out that the list of questions does not include a direct question about how long a chief is willing to stay in San Jose. 

Jim Unland, president of the Police Officer's Association, added that he thought the council questions were "softball." He wanted the questions to focus on the rising murder rate and the "officer exodus" from the city.

In an agenda item to the council, City Manager Debra Figone asked the council to approve a series of questions they will get to pose to the candidate brought before them.

Here are those questions in full:

  • Please describe, experience, and accomplishments, and explain how they have prepared you for this position.
  • Known as the "Capital of Silicon Valley," San Jose6 enjoys a broad economic base, tremendous diversity, and one of the lowest big city crime rates in the country. At the same time, we face the need to strengthen our neighborhoods, continuously improve the services we provide, and use our limited financial resources wisely in an extremely challenging budgetary environment. How do you see yourself and this department contributing to successfully meeting those challenges?
  •  How do you see yourself and this department contributing to successfully meeting those challenges?
  • What are the major challenges you see for the department? Please describe your planned approach to dealing with them.
  • What is your plan for ensuring that you maintain good communication with the Mayor and City Councilmembers? How will you approach maintaining good ongoing communication with community interest and the general public?
  • Please describe your approach to working in a unionized environment, including non sworn as well as sworn personnel.
  • What are your strategies for ensuring a diverse workforce; recruitment and retention of workforce?
  • How would you approach work.force planning and leadership development in the department?
  • Through the City Manager’s outreach, feedback from department employees indicate low morale and desire for more communication with command staff. How would you assess
    these issues and address them?
  • Community policing is a term used liberally in many law enforcement agencies today. What are the key elements and primary police practices associated with community policing? How would you go about instituting these policies in a climate of significant
    budget cuts?
  • In a diversity rich community like San Jose, cultural competency is very important. What experience do you bring, and what practices would you pursue to, ensure a harmonious
    relationship between SJPD’s workforce and the our diverse community? How would you
    build upon the success of the Chief’s Community Advisory Board?
  • What can the Chief of Police do to ensure ongoing courtesy and respect between police officers and the community members with whom they have contact?
  • Through the City Manager’s outreach, a key theme heard from community and workforce was that the next police chief needed to be a courageous leader. From your perspective,
    what is courageous leadership and how do you demonstrate this quality?
  • Please describe how you would approach your relationship with the Office of the Independent Auditor, which is San Jose's6’s model for police oversight. How will you
    ensure a proactive working relationship between the Department and the IPA?
  • The San Jose Police Department has a long tradition of maintaining and supporting a Police Reserve Unit. Please describe your experiences in working with Police Reserve Units.
  • What has been your experience with using analytics to improve police effectiveness and what are your plans for San José police?
  •  With nearly every city facing routine shortfalls and funding, what are some of the best ideas you’re seeing in other cities’ departments to provide policing more efficiently? What kind of innovative solutions have you led in your own department?
  • How do you plan to promote diversity within the department?
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