Armando Corpuz knew there was never going to be a perfect time to retire.
After all, the Milpitas police chief said he always had something to work on, whether that meant fostering new relationships, maintaining existing ones or leading the department through a tough transition period.
One thing was certain, Corpuz said: he wanted to leave the department in solid shape.
It’s easy to make the case that Corpuz—whose final day on the job is Dec. 30—will retire with the department in a good place, especially considering the national backlash against abuses in law enforcement.
“The department and the city of Milpitas are doing well overall, and members of the police department continue to work well with the community,” 51-year-old Corpuz said in an interview with San Jose Inside.
Indeed, in a 2019 city survey, the Milpitas Police Department received an 85 percent satisfaction approval. In 2018, the approval rating was 84 percent.
After 30 years of service in the department—the last three as chief—Corpuz said he can leave with some peace of mind. “What I’m most proud of is that the police department continues to be a part of the fabric of the community,” he said, “and the quality of the organization we’ve been able to build here.”
Corpuz said he has cherished his time meeting with residents and various members of leadership in the community, including physical get-togethers (in pre-pandemic times) with Parent Teacher Association leadership and other various groups.
“It put the department in a place where we got to work directly with families and working alongside them, but not because something bad happened first,” Corpuz said.
Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran and City Manager Steve McHarris spoke highly of Corpuz, who started his career as a reserve officer in 1990 before making his way up the ranks as an officer, sergeant, lieutenant and captain, serving in the latter position for eight years.
“Chief Corpuz has been an outstanding member of the leadership team especially as we respond to the community’s needs and seek to retain the public’s confidence during challenging times such as the current Covid-19 crisis,” McHarris said in announcing the retirement. “His legacy will live on with the Milpitas Police Department because he nurtured a community-first culture. He will be greatly missed.”
Corpuz gave a lot of credit to the department staff, acknowledging he had “outstanding men and women” working under his leadership. Corpuz will hand over the reins to Assistant Police Chief Jared Hernandez, who will serve as acting police chief.
“If at some point Jared is appointed police chief, I’m certain he’s already seen the value of what we’re doing now,” Corpuz said, “and he’s not someone who will keep the department stagnant. He will continue to make adjustments, whether it’s hiring or other aspects of service delivery. The department is definitely in good hands with Jared.”
Even though he’s retiring from law enforcement, Corpuz said he won’t stay idle too long. He hopes to discover another passion that leads him to rewarding work, similar to the gratitude and thankfulness he felt in his time in the department.
“First off, I will help with the transition of leadership as much as the city manager wants me to,” Corpuz said. “Then at some point I’m likely to get another job that is hopefully different and as challenging.”
“I’m looking for new challenges and I’m grateful I’ll have options.”
Corpuz said he departs knowing he has done all that he could to make the Milpitas Police Department one that regularly interacts with the community and met its needs.
“He has always been focused on transparency and open communication,” Tran said, “and genuinely cared for the community in which he was raised.”