San Jose

‘We Have a Lot of Work to Do’: San Jose’s New Top Cop, Eddie Garcia, Aims to Rebuild Police Force

Eddie Garcia during his 24 years in law enforcement has worked his way up the ranks, including stints serving in patrol, the elite MERGE unit and to wearing the gold badge.

San Jose Police Department's assistant chief is now set to be promoted as the city's top cop.

"Well, first, excitement," Garcia said of his new post. "We're starting with a lot of opportunities here. But we have a lot of work to do."

That work involves rebuilding the police force, increasing morale and bringing back to San Jose the coveted title it lost over the last few years.

"Strive to be the safest big city again," Garcia said of his vision while serving as acting chief. "And that together with the POA, city hall and the community. And we're going to do it."

Garcia said he will work to get more cadets to join the dwindling academy. He also plans to bring back the officers who have left the force out of frustration over pay and benefits.

"Not to poach from other departments, but give them the opportunity to come back home," Garcia said.

Three officers have already returned in the last few months.

For now, Garcia said he will continue wearing the three stars of the assistant chief. But perhaps in a vote of confidence, the city manager's office said there is no national search underway to look for a permanent chief.

The city manager first wants to see how Garcia performs as acting chief.

Garcia in return said once he has more cops he plans to have his officers get out of their patrol cars.

"For residents, you can't only see police officers in times of crisis," Garcia said. "They need to see an officer walking in the park on a Sunday, walking through the neighborhood with smiles on their faces and not just when they call 911."

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