My Thoughts on the next Police Chief

Tonight marks the start of another series of community meetings designed to garner input about a prospective Police Chief. The city of San Jose conducted a nationwide search for a police chief less than two years ago, which ultimately yielded limited interest and few qualified applicants. The city spent an exorbitant amount of money and time on this effort. I wrote about these community meetings back in August 2010.

I am not convinced that conducting another search will bring about different results this time around, or, with the upcoming holidays, quickly yield the best candidate. Keep in mind that our nationwide search for a library director is taking longer than previously anticipated—the recruitment of our Police Chief is much more complex and pivotal than a library director.

San Jose is facing many challenges with an increase in various service calls for the whole city. We have pulled officers from other areas within the department to try to assist with increases in call volume. Furthermore, and perhaps more damaging yet, is the possibility that a lack of solidarity, which is already evident, will increase within our police department by virtue of having a chief who has announced he is leaving.

At this point in time, San Jose needs a police chief who is a leader. We cannot afford to wait to see what we might find from a search. We need a person who acknowledges the need for pension reform, is not afraid to embrace and implement new ideas, and has the courage and backbone to take charge. In addition, the next chief needs the diplomacy and intellect to bring the council, management and police union (POA) on the same page in order to improve SJPD morale, strengthen the working relationship between police and management ,and provide peace of mind to residents that their police department is keeping San Jose safe. Retired SJPD Captain Gary Kirby encompasses these traits among other qualifying attributes.

Born and raised in San Jose, Gary Kirby graduated from San Jose State University before joining the SJPD, which led to 25 years of experience in municipal law enforcement field operations, criminal and administrative investigations, administration and project management. 

During his tenure with the SJPD, Captain Kirby earned respect from the SJPD rank and file, POA and elected officials for his no-nonsense yet thoughtful approach in managing and overseeing sensitive, complicated and fiduciary matters. As captain, he was responsible for the human resource management of 2,200 sworn officers, non-sworn staff, the Police Academy and Police Officers Standard Testing (P.O.S.T.), as well as overseeing criminal investigations for homicide, robbery, sexual assault, child abuse, domestic violence and gang assaults. Further, Captain Kirby has experience in state and federal grant applications, management, audit compliance and promotional testing.

Captain Kirby developed innovative and nationally recognized best practices via public-private partnerships with technology firms and he has led and built relationships on complex police projects with heightened political sensitivity and budgetary constraints for the city.

For example, Captain Kirby was the project manager for the voter approved $89 million dollar public safety bond to build the 110,000 sq. ft. police substation. Kirby was also the project manager for the $6 million dollar federal grant to build Emergency Communications Digital Microwave—ECOMM microwave interoperability connecting 13 agencies. Captain Kirby also brings private sector experience from Apple Corporation, building threat assessment and security device integration.

Captain Kirby was the Keynote Speaker of the 2008 NAACP National Convention on Racial Profiling in Washington, DC; graduate of the Los Angeles Police Department West Point Leadership School (2009); the recipient of the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s award for Homicide Investigator of the Year (1996 & 1998) and he attended the US Air Force War College Academy week-long National Security Forum.

Captain Gary Kirby has a unique combination of education, experience as an officer, roots in San Jose, a private industry background and solid respect from his peers. Approximately three years, ago I shared my support of Captain Kirby in a post advocating his promotion to Assistant Police Chief.

I strongly believe hiring Captain Kirby as San Jose’s next Chief of Police is a start down the path towards reconciliation. We need to think about our rank and file, who need a leader they know, someone they can respect and count on. What we don’t need is a prolonged process that may create an exodus of police officers.

We have a leadership void that may take a year to fill. However, we have crimes being committed today that cannot wait for a perfect Chief when, in my opinion, we already have an optimal candidate that may serve if called upon. Chief Kirby would perform as Captain Kirby has always done, which is to say he would fix the situation.

The appointment of a Police Chief in San Jose ultimately requires approval from the City Council. Therefore, if the majority of the council approves of Gary Kirby, then our job is done. By truncating the standard process in this fashion, we can forgo a futile exercise that will waste money, time and cause undue fatigue on our police force.

Pierluigi Oliverio is a councilmember for San Jose’s District 6.

42 Comments

  1. PO……what an excellent choice, but unfortunately the damage you and the rest of the city council inflicted will take numerous years to fix no matter who is the next chief… Ummm I believe the police has and still believes in pension reform, just not the illegal way it was imposed.  How will your district feel about.potential “double-dipping” canidates?  Dog and Pony shows is all these meaningless meetings are….You, Reed, and Figone don’t give a sh#%….just as long as the next chief ignores real world issues and does what you, the rest of the city council, and Figone want.  Why hasn’t anyone from inside the current police administration applied?

  2. While I agree that retired Captain Kirby would be an excellent candidate for San Jose’s Chief of Police, I would hope that he would not be so foolish as to do so and for the following reasons:

    1. Mayor Reed and his council majority

    2. Debra Figone (for all the reasons she ought to go: http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/citizen/san-jose-city-manager-must-go-1/)

    3. The blatant pandering and the unjustifiable interference in disciplinary matters of which the current IPA, Judge Ladoris Cordell is flagrantly guilty,

    4. The massive loss of public trust which the above persons/group have precipitated

    5. The Sword of Damoclese that is Measure B and all of the incalculable damage that it has wrought, despite the fact that it hasn’t even been implemented yet.

  3. Disgusting twist by a Councilman. He says SJ needs a chief “who acknowledges the need for pension reform”.  This insinuates that the SJPD has not yet acknolwedged this. It minimizes the 10% voluntary pay cut and voluntary agreement to pay into retiree healthcare and the multiple pension reform proposals police and fire have provided.

    Next he says “the next chief needs the diplomacy and intellect to bring the council, management and police union (POA) on the same page.” Shouldn’t the council and management be doing their part to stop alienating the public safety workers. This articel could have served as one such opportunity but instead you again misled the reader into believing that police and fire are not open to pension reform.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

  4. PLO you are such a true politician. You know damn well that Fig and company have already turned their nose at the suggestion of Gary Kirby. He has too much integrity as a real cop who has been there and done that. You are a fool to attempt to gain PD support by knowingly endorsing someone that you know doesnt have a snowball’s chance in hell! Furthermore its insulting to say that the PD needs someone who embraces pension reform. Sorry that cops havent embraced your illegal 35k a year paycut. Yes that is why all the officers are leaving. This is just the tip of the iceberg my friend. You people are so arrogant in your ways at the cost of cops and citizens!

  5. A couple things come to mind reading Pier’s post. First, having Pier recommend a police chief for San Jose is akin to having Bernie Madoff’s choice for the CEO of his company while in prison. Second, a broken clock is still right twice a day.

    You and the majority of this city council, mayor, IPA, and city manager are responsible for the destruction of this police department to respond to crimes and investigate crimes, as well as demonizing, dehumanizing, and demoralizing every man and woman left working for this department.

  6. Its really pathetic when you try to talk about topics , That you really know nothing about ! The only thing that you are right about , is that its going to be EXTREMELY difficult finding a candidate……….. who is willing to sit by and let the city manager run their department , someone who is spineless enough to go along with EVERYTHING Council wants , Someone who is willing to accept FAILURE as their own , for all of Councils choices , someone who can ignore the mass exodus and keep telling the Mayor that everything is O.K. , Someone who can look past A morally decimated force, someone who can back up the Mayors lies regarding “San Jose Is still one of the Safest cities” B.S. ,  wait we already have that Chief right here in San Jose and His Name Is Doug Figone.

    One more thing if this new Chief has any kind of intellect , He will avoid becoming San Jose’s Next Scapegoat!

  7. Soon as I saw the first two words I knew something was wrong “my thoughts”. SO is Mr. Oliverio saying this is the first time he is thinking on his own? What is missing Mr. Oliverio you are the one that caused all the problems that you now lay out. Low Morale and a chief that will stand up to the city council. I think that is you. We have had two chiefs that have bent over backwards to work with you and they both have left in disgrace. The very rank and file they lead did not see them as leaders.

    Put your money where your mouth is. You want to stop the exodus of cops then start with restoring the 10% you took from them. Tell the officers and the citizens that you and Reed screwed up. We cut to much. CIty of Antioch is improving its retirement to hire laterals. SFPD is currently hiring. SJPD officers are still leaving. Even Kirby could not get them to stay unless you change your thinking.

  8. Mr. Oliverio,

    While we cannot say for certain that Chief Moore would have decided to stay had you and your cohorts put the tax measure on the last ballot, it probably made his decision to leave a little bit easier.

    When the POA asks for the 10% back, and the city takes it to arbitration, you know based on local police wage comparisons the arbitrator will side with the POA. Where is that 10% going to come from? Measure B won’t be implemented any time soon (which is hopefully never), and the PD is hemorrhaging officers. Are you going to send out pink slips to all of the rookies the city just spent half a million plus to train?

    The solution should have been made when the unions put forth proposals that had solid actuarial projections to finally get the “general fund” consistently into the black. That in combination with the tax increase would have more than likely helped us avoid this expensive search, for the second time in two years.

  9. This is just another ploy by PLO to lie about being on the officers side of things. Just by PLO stating Captain Kirby’s name makes him a non- candidate.

    Captain Kirby has a spine, he’s a meat eater. He would want total control of the PD.

    Do you really think he would really listen to you PLO???

    Two other things. 1) He is heading to Redwood City with all the other SJPD officer’s. He would make a lot more money.

    2) His son was laid off. That left a real bad taste in his mouth.

    Hey, PLO, looks like the city is gearing up for the measure B battle. Another 1.5 million in the war chest. Sounds like things are not going well. But hey, it’s not your money.

  10. “We need a person who acknowledges the need for pension reform…”

    —Just in case the councilman failed to notice, the police chief has never had a chair at the labor negotiations table. The state of the pension, whether producing excesses in decades gone by or coming up short in the present, has never been part of the chief’s job, nor should it. But what PLO intends here is to make pension reform a litmus test for filling the vacancy; he wants a chief who is publicly aligned with the City on this divisive labor issue, an alignment that will create an unnecessary and ineradicable rift between that chief and the men and women he is supposed to lead. Clearly, PLO can’t see beyond his own political nose; he says he wants a competent chief but it’s quite obvious that his first priority is to get himself another stooge.

  11. Did we really spend $89 million dollars for a 110,000 sq. ft. police substation that sits abandoned in South San Jose? Once again we see what a poor job our leaders have done managing San Jose.

    • If Reed was really true to his word, he would put the funds into the Police Department needed to open the “Voter Approved” substation.  Yet another example of Reed only supporting the voters when he wants to.  Like pot clubs, V and W, and Measure B.

      Good job Reed…Voters spent 89 Million for nothing.

  12. SteveO,

    At the time that it was conceived, designed, and, ultimately, constructed, San Jose’s General Plan had called for the hiring of many more officers. Around this time, according to the General Plan, we should have had nearly 1800 officers: hundreds more than the current police department – literally a Cold War relic – could have based. Even several years ago, the Men’s locker room had to be expanded. Now, that expansion has been closed off and turned into a fitness gym. Yes, the cost was minimal as the equipment was originally housed in Old City Hall and had to be moved when that property was transferred (under questionable legal conditions) to the County.

    Years ago, Chuck Reed, in one of his rare moments of genuine honesty, acknowledged that the City needed more officers in order to maintain the level of police service to which the city had become accustomed. The only way to base those officers the city SHOULD have been hiring was in the substation. It was built as part of a bond measure and with full voter approval. If you are going to allude to poor stewardship of the city, then turn your gaze on Chuck Reed and his allies. It is they who have squandered opportunity after opportunity to legally craft meaningful pension reform. Look to them – PLO included – as the architects of the waste of tens of millions of dollars worth of training – the costs associated with hiring and training all those officers who ultimately decided to leave the wasteland San Jose is becoming and go to greener pastures with other cities.

    Now, ask yourself this question: how is it that SF with a quarter fewer people manages to maintain a police force that 2.5x the size of San Jose’s police force. Yes, there’s certainly a disparity in revenue,  but there is also an issue of priorities and values. Certainly one can make an argument that SF values public safety and public safety employees more than SJ does.

    The Southern Substation would have been a good value and a necessary element of increasing public safety in San Jose. Capt. Kirby did an excellent job overseeing the project and his reputation within the Police Department is excellent, both as a cop and as a leader. He would be an excellent choice for Chief of Police of SJPD and he would be wise to never accept that position.

  13. Councilman Oliverio – you prove again how far out of touch you are!

    There is nothing that any Chief past present or future will be able to do to stop the exodus of officers to other agencies! Nothing!

    The Mayor and you and your allies in the destruction of the police department CAN do something: RESTORE THE 10% salary cut that YOU said would be the “goodwill” you needed to convince voters to approve the 1/4 cent sales tax increase that YOU DIDN”T put on the BALLOT! Employees held up their end of the bargain YOU DID NOT. Now Return the 10%!

    Funny, In the Oct 18, 2012 Public Safety Committee Meeting starting at 39:15min you claim that people in District 6 who historically trusted and respected the police and would never call to complain were now “afraid” of the police!  At about 40 min you even appear to be choking back tears over the state of things and what some “bad apples” are doing to SJPD’s relationship with the public.

    http://sanjose.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=23&clip_id=6087

    Yet you don’t mention hiring a chief who will weed out these ficticious “bad apples” or calm the publics fears… where you acting in front of the camera then or not to concerned now?

    I second Thereliableinformer’s insight into your motives here… they are classic Oliverio! Like the votes you claim to be most proud of where you were the lone vote in opposition… you can emphatically endorse Kirby because you know full well the City Manager would never hire him and the Council would never apprive him and yoi can continue to fool yourself and your contituents into believing that you support the police… it is an old act, it doesnt fool me or anyone else with half a brain.

    Hey how’s that Tier2 Pension package coming along? Gonna put more take home money in everyones pocket… gonna allow the CIty to hire back up to or exceed prior staffing levels… gonna allow the City to provide more services to more people… Hows that going? Has the IRS considered the “opt in plan” yet”?

    Let us know if/when you have made any progress on those issues. Better yet, Let us know WHEN YOU BEGIN to address them…that’s right I said “let us know when you BEGIN to work on those things!”  k? Ciao for now!

  14. PLO is way over his head. Im sure Reed and Figone are not happy with his renegade, runaway endorsement of someone who hasnt even expressed interest in the job and of someone that they do not support. PLO you are so out of your league. Its a good thing that you are merely a small town councilman in a quaint little district that has not felt the true ripple of crime YET.

  15. One of your dumbest ideas yet, I love Gary, worked with him for years.  Why would he want this job, and I thought double dipping is on the no list. Then I remembered Constant with his questionable disability retirement, council pay, falsifying a political trip. The list goes on and on. Where are those stolen signs anyway.

    Gary, please stay away from this sinking ship.  I love your 92 million vacant police station that the city will never open and PO states we cannot sell.  It will be outdated in 2 years. Don’t touch this department that is going to be the next Oakland.

  16. Pier,

    I watched part of today’s city council meeting. I am not a fan of Debra Figone’s, but in her City Manager’s report today, without naming you specifically, she sure dressed you down for your grandstanding in your choice of the next police chief. She said whoever on the council is doing this, and whoever on the council is prematurely announcing candidates, is being very unprofessional. Even if Captain Kirby had a chance to come back here, you pretty much destroyed any chance of that from happening by your actions.

    Here is the link and she speaks at about the 48:20 mark:

    http://sanjose.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=52&clip_id=6158

  17. Chief Moore was interviewed on KTVU 10:00 News tonight.  He claimed the next chief will have to be an outsider because nobody inside SJPD wants to be chief.  Is SJPD’s command staff really this weak in terms of ambition?

    • SteveO, it would be a mistake to attribute lack of ambition to lack of interest in the position of Chief of Police. While I respect only a couple of of the individuals occupying chief kevel positions, one thing I can honestly and accurately say of all of them is that not one is sufficiently stupid or masochistic to actually want that job. Considering the conditions in the city right now, I can’t blame Chief Moore for leaving. Working conditions – aready bad when he took the position – are only deteriorating, with absolutely no hope of reversing the trend right now. Realistically, he has been denied by City Hall and the citizens of San Jose any meaningful tools to improve the condition of the PD. Those circumstances will not change after he has left, and so, it is fair to say that no ine could actually succeed in that position.

      The citizens want the level of safety to which they’d become accustomed but voted for Measure B and against the most recent tax measure, thereby reinforcing that they wantfirst class policing for bargain basement pricing – a demand impossible to fulfill.

      Chuck Reed, the City Council, and Debra Figone also demand the impossible – impossible at least for anyone of any integrity. They want a Chief who will be willing to be complicit in their bread-and-circuses propaganda, make nicey-nice with useless idiots like Raj Jayadev at deBug and Richard Konda at Asian Law Alliance along with all the other entitlement and identity groups screeching for special treatment at the expense of truly equal law enforcement; and at the same time ensure that San Jose receives world class law enforcement despite the ongoing exodus of talent from the PD.

      The Catch-22 of hiring for SJPD is that the kind of leader who is needed will be entirely too smart and ethical to want the position, much less be hired by the folks over in City Hall.

    • No, they just know the undermining from the City Council will negate any ambition they have to improve the Police Department.  A demoralized rank and file, unrelenting critics like yourself (who have never even been in the police department) and a City that is slowly circling the proverbial drain is enough to make even the most ambitious Police Officer think twice.  By the way, it is nice of you to deflect the real reasons no one want s the position.  BAD MANAGEMENT and an ill-informed public.

    • SteveO

      Are you serious ??? You are wondering if anybody is ambitious enough to be ” A Puppet” for the Reed/Figone regime ? Have you not been paying attention to the Dismanteling of our Public Safety ? No one with half a brain ,Character , Integrity and Backbone would ever want the paper title of “San Jose Police Chief” it is common Knowledge that Doug Figone runs this Dept. No One who is willing to defy her wishes will be considered , even for the betterment of San Jose . This city has lost millions of dollars with all the experienced Officers that have fled to greener, more supportive , better paying , Better benefitted Departments . It will take 5- 10 years to fill the void left by the Mass exodus.

    • No, they just have applications in elsewhere.  The sad truth.  PLO, Kirby would make you give the troops back their 10 percent and concede Measure B as illegal before he comes back to the SJPD.  Until then, he will be making a lot of cash (well deserved) in Redwood City.  Chief Gamez (RCPD) even hit the media saying he’s cherry picking SJPD.  PLO, your a joke.

      Personally, I think we should raise the wages city council members get so that we can attract real politicians.  Most of the ones we have are a joke.

  18. Is SJPD’s command staff really this weak in terms of ambition?  SteveO seriously? Are you out of touch? Lacking ambition. You have no idea what it takes to promote up the ranks. Its not a simple little written test. People’s stupidity amazes me more and more each day. No one wants the job because the Mayor and Manager have destroyed the entire dept. Anyone who takes on this job will be a puppet. So to answer your question ya no one has the ambition to be Reed and Fig’s little puppet. Go back under your rock

  19. Maybe we ought to be looking at hiring from within but somebody relatively young who won’t be likely to bail after just a few years when his pension maxes out.
    Who’s the SJPD spokesman I see on the news? Jason Dwyer I think his name is. Seems like a sharp guy. How ‘bout him?
    But at any rate a younger person, particularly one who’s articulate with a little charisma and maintains a presence for enough years to become known to and respected by the people might have the greatest chance of gaining a little political clout.

  20. Can you imagine a corporate culture of a business where nobody wanted to be the president of the corporation? This would never happen at a Google, Apple, or Intel. The fact that nobody within the SJPD wants to be considered for Chief shows how diseased the corporate culture, if you will, is at the SJPD. This has nothing to do with the great women and men of the SJPD, rather, it hss everything to do with the CEO, Chuck Reed, and his board of directors, in this case, most of the city council. Through their obstinate and ignorant actions, they have no less than destroyed most of what was once a police department that was a model for the rest of the nation. Why on God’s green earth anybody would want to be chief here with Chuck Reed et al at the helm is unfathomable.

  21. Thereliableinformer, BOHICA, DISGUSTED IN SAN JOSE

    Can we discuss the issues of the day without insults?  I asked a serious question.  What if Chief Moore could not report to work tomorrow because of a health issue?  Is there nobody on the command staff willing and able to step up to be chief even on an interim basis?  Every organization, especially SJPD, needs a succession plan.  If there are no viable internal candidates to replace Chief Moore, SJPD is in serious trouble.

  22. SteveO, interesting that you ask if the issues of the day can be discussed without insults while, a few posts earlier, you attempt to suggest that the entire command staff of SJPD is disinterested in the job of COP due to weakness. It is no less interesting that you completely ignore my earlier posts and explanations for their disinterest – an apparent disinclination to actually engage in conversation on the topic of the day.

    Why don’t you address the issue of the toxic work environment which City Hall and San Jose’s citizens have created? Why don’t you discuss the Catch 22 I mentioned? Why don’t you look a little deeper?

    • Officer Anonymous,

      Using the word “weak” was not intended as an insult, but a concern about the viability and strength of SJPD as an organization if nobody on the command staff is willing or able to become the next chief.

      I only read your response late last night so please don’t come to any conclusions in such a short time about my willingness to engage in conversation.  I have no disagreement with you that the work environment at SJPD is bad.  The chief level staff are dealing with these issues every day, just like Chief Moore.  Despite all this anybody who is promoted and accepts a chief level position should be ready and willing to take the next step to one day become chief of police.  Every organization needs a succession plan and it appears SJPD does not have one based on Chief Moore’s statement to the press.

  23. Gary Kirby would be a great choice, but he will never be chosen.  The department definitely needs a leader, but a leader stands up for those he leads.  That’s the opposite of what Reed and Figone want.  They don’t want anyone who would think that they owe a greater allegiance to the public and the department than to the City Government.  Chris Moore is a good man, but he was never willing to speak the full truth about what Reed has done to SJPD and public safety.  A leader would speak the truth.  Leaders need not apply.

  24. Another seven (7!) officers tendered their resignations yesterday.

    John Galt, did I not argue time and again that, if San Jose was unwilling to be competitive with other cities, they would find themselves unable to retain their police officers? Frankly, I think we’re lucky that the local jurisdictions are hiring away our officers piecemeal rather than simply hiring away several hundred at once. I’m pretty sure that SFPD still is looking at hiring more SJPD officers. They had 200 openings, after all. And, it isn’t just the bay area. Officers are leaving for Southern California agencies, agencies in Washington, Oregon, Texas…

    San Jose has sewn quite a wind in Measure B and it sure is reaping a whirlwind.

    • Officer Anonymous,
      Seven more officers left for greener pastures? Well that’s their choice. 
      As an Oakland A’s fan I don’t wring my hands every time Billy Beane, at the behest of his budget conscious employers refuses to engage in a bidding war but rather stands idly by and does nothing to keep his high priced players from abandoning their teammates and forsaking their fans as they go off seeking higher bidders in their ceaseless pursuit of bigger contracts.
      But more often than not the following season the A’s defy conventional wisdom and field a better team than many of their rivals with bigger payrolls who wrongly believe that championships must be bought and that competence and excellence are always proportional with salary. Quite a testimony to the power of attitude. Rather than wallow in pessimism and resentment and complaining that Billy Beane has destroyed their morale, the remaining A’s players relish the challenge and sieze the opportunity to show the world what they can do. It’s easy to get behind this team. I’ll take the A’s and their way of doing business over the New York Yankees any day.
      And pursuing this baseball analogy a little further, Major League Baseball, through the mutual cooperation of the owners and the players union has designed and constructed a business that is designed to extract the maximum number of dollars from it’s customers. That’s fine. It’s free enterprise and it’s private business and the participants are free to conduct their business as they wish. However the same principles do not apply to government agencies. Whereas I’m free not to pay to attend baseball games I am compelled by law to pay my taxes. Government as a whole has come to see itself as a business and as such is applying the same principles of growth and has come to design itself so as to extract maximum tax revenue from the people. This is wrong. Though I have no illusions about Chuck Reed’s motives or about the overall competence of the City of San Jose I must be supportive of any measure that helps to rein in the juggernaut that “Government Industries Inc.” has become.

      • Comparing baseball players to public safety!?!?  That says it all.  No comparison whatsoever, and a ridiculous attempt to justify eliminating a contract in mid-term. If a baseball player is traded, moved, or otherwise found not useful, the terms of their contract are not null and void.  You make comparisons to attempt justification.  You failed.

      • John,

        The baseball analogy goes further. Professional sports teams pay top dollar for coaches who teach, advise, instruct, critique and train. These folks do their level best to ensure the individuals achieve their personal best and form a team which achieves its own best.

        At SJPD, those ‘coaches’ are FTO’s. San Jose PD uses officers who have more seniority and broad experience drawn from Patrol, Special Operation and Investigations to train new officers and impart to them the skill they need to, themselves, become skilled patrol officer, investigators, and, eventually, members of the various special operations units. The problem here is this: not only is the size of the department shrinking faster than new recruits can be hired, trained and function as solo beat officers, but investigation and special operation units are decreasing as well. This means that fewer officers have the opportunity to diversify their skillsets and pass along those skills to these new recruits.

        I ask you this: What will happen if these trends continue? What will happen if attrition outstrips recruiting? What will happen when the loss of institutional knowledge becomes so great that new recruits do not receive the broad training and education that their predecessors once did.

        Unfortunately, at that point, your analogy breaks down. Police officers and firefighters do not get paid the awesome amount of money that professional sports players do. Professional sports players are not subject to anywhere near the stringent hiring, retention, professional and ethical standards to which police officers are subject. In fact, it seems like about the only way to get fired from a team is to be an abject failure as a player, to commit a capital crime, to get caught using performance-enhancers or drugs, or to get convicted of animal abuse. Bottom line: there’s a far larger pool of talent from which to draw if you’re involved with professional sports than is available in the public safety fields, comparatively speaking.

        You keep talking about reigning in costs, but seem pretty much focused on the salary and benefits issue, and all the while failing to confront all the other profligate waste in which the city indulges. You also continually and repeatedly fail to acknowledge that the primary reasons pensions are the problem they presently are are that a) the city took numerous ‘pension holidays’ in years past, not contributing to the pension fund because returns on investment were so good and b) that the investments on which pensions are based took a huge hit in years past. However, the pensions are getting stronger every year, and still, Chuck Reed is beating the pension reform drum, advocating a measure he knows very well is unlawful and which, over the past year, has been dealt blow after blow from other court cases. In other words, the city’s position gets weaker and weaker.

        Finally, you need to understand this: Pension reform is far more about freeing up funds for special projects than it is about actual fiscal responsibility. Ask yourself this question: exactly from where do you think the city is going to generate the funds required for the City’s contribution to the infrastructure required for A’s stadium – or is it ‘Chuck Reed Memorial Coliseum’? It might as well be for it is surely his vanity project, and a cash cow for both Lew Wolfe and the various construction enterprises who will, inevitably, be benefiting from this particular project.

  25. With all the current disarray and chaos at the SJPD, it sure is curious that the current chief wants to make his crowning glory of achievement putting cameras on every officer. He has 6 or so weeks till he leaves. We will soon have no officers to wear cameras. It will cost millions of dollars, all to pacify the IPA and justify her office’s existence. I sure hope that nobody at the SJPD was promised a job with Taser if camera’s were strapped on the head of every officer. Spend the last few weeks telling the brutal truth to the media and citizens. It was refreshing to see at least a little bit of this in the media last week. Don’t spend the last few weeks kicking the officers while they are already down strapping camera’s on their heads. They have been dehumanized and demoralized enough, yet despite this we continue to see amazing examples of great police work, courage, and doing the right thing.

  26. observation,

    What makes those cameras important to Chief Moore is their value on his résumé. There’s no way the program can be implemented before he waddles out the door, thus the necessity to get his name affixed to those cameras in the public record.

    Give the man a little credit, he knows the marketplace and understands that prospective employers lust for candidates with the progressive credentials required to appease race merchants and police-haters. And outfitting every street cop with a camera is about as impressive a credential as a white male candidate can offer. After all, those cameras come with an implication of not only general distrust of the cop on the beat, but of his culpability for the disproportionate number of encounters, arrests, and violent incidents he has with Hispanics and African-Americans. And there is scarcely a police chief applicant in America who isn’t willing to sell-out his troops and his profession for a chance to sit in the big chair or, in the case of Chris Moore, double-dip in the sweet waters of yet another tax stream.