A Compilation of San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel’s Best, Worst Tweets

Larry Esquivel inherited San Jose’s chief of police position without ever putting his name up for consideration. In fact, none of the San Jose Police Department’s deputy chiefs showed a genuine interest in the job, leaving the applicant pool to some uninterested and/or unqualified candidates outside of the area.

The search for someone to replace recently retired chief Chris Moore, who hung it up in January, imploded earlier this year after the names of potential candidates were leaked to the press. In response, City Manager Debra Figone called off the search, or “suspended” it, according to communication’s director David Vossbrink, in an effort to have a cooling off period before starting anew some time down the line. No one within the city can say for certain when that will happen.

There is a belief that the process showed just how hamstrung the city has become in luring top-level talent to San Jose in the wake of salary and benefit cuts, as well as more pension reform looming if Measure B comes out of the courts more or less unscathed.

In the meantime, Esquivel appears to be quietly going about his business, learning about all of SJPD’s day-to-day operations as well as engaging in the political gamesmanship that comes with the job. He has received praise from the Police Officers Association—not necessarily a given from the temperamental union—and the department’s morale received a slight boost just a couple weeks ago when the first new recruits in four years were sworn in as officers. This came just a week after the somber memorial service in San Jose for two slain Santa Cruz police officers.

San Jose Inside conducted an interview with Esquivel shortly after he became chief, and we’d publish the transcript if it weren’t so, well, boring.

Esquivel, who previously headed up the Bureau of Operations after serving as the Internal Affairs commander, admitted in the interview that he was still trying to keep pace with the learning curve, and his answers were mostly positive if not carbon-copied from a SJPD brochure.

Esquivel talked about instituting a model for department goals under Moore’s watch that goes by the acronym RCITI, or phonetically pronounced “Our City.” The goal was to focus efforts on:

• Respect
• Crime reduction
• Investing in staff
• Transparency
Infrastructure Innovation

Again, brochure stuff.

Thankfully, technology has opened up a small window into the soul of San Jose’s new police chief. Unlike his predecessor, or the city manager or Mayor Chuck Reed, Esquivel has a Twitter account. And it’s compelling for a number of reasons.

First, did you know San Jose’s new police chief is fond of emoticons—even when they’re a little weird?

Here’s a tweet he sent out about meeting with the family of a homicide victim.

But Esquivel can turn that frown upside down when he’s snapping photos at the “Azteca Mexica New Year Festival.”

And then there’s police chief trivia, such as this photo he took along with a question asking if followers can name that ride. (It’s a 1964 Plymouth Savoy, idiot.)

Esquivel’s Tweets aren’t consumed just by ups and downs and fun and games, though. He’s also using social media to put a little pressure on councilmembers, such as Xavier Campos and Johnny Khamis, to follow through on promises.

And yet, Esquivel is still new at his job. Has there ever been a time in recorded history when a San Jose police chief offers the Mercury News praise?

Like we said, still new to the job.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

10 Comments

  1. Tweet on, Chief Esquivel…

    like the band that played on as the Titanic slipped quietly into the sea, so too do the good citizens of San Jose deserve a distraction from their doom.

    • Anonymously,

      You did miss something. The joke is that anyone who doesn’t know what the car is an idiot. The chief had a follow up Tweet with the answer.

      Thanks for reading,

      JK

  2. LOL…What did your THINK he was going to tweet/post on facebook?  You guys are really scraping the bottom for news……

  3. He should be tweeting the truth about what the city has proposed to retain officers, not some bull-o-knee acronyms like RCITI.
    That’s what a chief should do. Has anyone seen the city’s latest proposal? It is pretty comical….if you don’t depend on SJPD to keep your community safe.

  4. Who cares about what he does and doesn’t tweet? What I want to know is when the City is going to start interviewing to hire a new Chief of Police, and how the City Manager came to chose Chief Esquivel as interim Chief?

    What are his qualifications?

    Do the men and women of the SJPD like and respect his leadership?

    Does he work with the community well?

    Is he raising the Officer’s moral, and offering them hope?

    How long is this position going to be on hold?

  5. The City’s wage proposal is tied to the implementation of the legally challenged Measure B. The trial over the constitutionality of Measure B is scheduled for June of this year. Please bear with me as I do my best to explain the City’s proposal.

    First Year

    The City has proposed that a partial step increase would be added to our existing 7-step wage structure starting July1, 2013. As you know, once officers complete their first year on the job, they receive a 5% step increase to their hourly wage. Every year, they get another 5% step increase until they have reached “top-step”. This occurs after they begin their 6th year on the force.

    The City proposed that all officers with 7 years or more years on the force would receive a 2.5% increase to their wages. You need to understand that this offer comes with major conditions. You might remember that the City has unilaterally ended the SRBR program that occasionally is paid to retirees when the retirement plan investment returns exceed the assumed rate of return. You should also remember that then Councilmember Chuck Reed voted for the SRBR saying that it was the right thing to do. We have challenged the City’s ability to terminate this program as a part of our Measure B litigation. The City has said that if its anticipated SRBR elimination savings are not realized, then it will eliminate the 2.5% raise. 

    As if that wasn’t enough rain, they have also tied another condition to the 2.5% partial step increase offer. We have also challenged the City’s unilateral change to the retiree healthcare plan. This year, the City moved all current retirees and future retirees into a new high-deductible healthcare plan by creating a new “low-cost” plan. In order to keep the healthcare plan they currently have, retirees have had to pay thousands of additional dollars. We have also challenged this within our Measure B litigation. Not surprisingly, the City’s proposal says that if it does not reap its expected savings from this illegal change to our healthcare plan, it will also eliminate the 2.5% raise.

    This is all centered on the City’s expected saving of $20 million from the changes to the above two programs. If it does not get the $20 million in savings, the 2.5% raise is eliminated. So in a nutshell, if we or any other union is successful with our Measure B litigation on the SRBR or the low-cost healthcare plan, the 2.5% partial step increase disappears. 

    Second Year

    But wait, there’s more. The City has offered up a second-year raise. Of course, this comes with a Measure B condition as well. The City’s proposal calls for an additional 2.5% raise in the second year of the 2-year contract. The City is conditioning this raise on the implementation of the 4% additional pension costs for the unfunded liability called for in Measure B. We will only get a 2.5% raise in the second year if we are paying the additional 4% toward pension costs. So in the year that we receive this 2.5% raise, you will take home 1.5% less. It’s quite a condition. Any victory (elimination of Measure B) by any of the bargaining groups would eliminate this 2nd-year raise. It is one of the oddest retention schemes imaginable.

    • Thereliableinformer,
      You forgot something. Hiring new Officers at a lower rate of pay and compensation is discriminatory. You can’t give one group more than the other~