San Jose officially has a new police chief, now that Chris Moore has been sworn in. The ceremony, which took place in City Hall, will go down in the books as establishing a new custom. Judge LaDoris Cordell raised her right hand. Moore raised his right hand. The judge recited the oath of office, and Moore repeated it after her. Then, hands still in the air, Moore and the Cordell high-fived each other. Moore’s new badge was then pinned on by his wife while his daughter watched from the side.
The high five was more than just elaborate choreography between Moore and the judge. Cordell also serves as the independent auditor of the SJPD. She oversees the investigation of charges against the Police Department, and her relationship with former Police Chief Rob Davis had been less than smooth.
Normally, it is the Mayor who swears in the new police chief, but Moore requested Cordell specifically. The surprise move has been interpreted as signal by Moore that he hopes to establish a more positive relationship between the SJPD and its official watchdog, perhaps part of a larger strategy to build bridges with the city’s minority communities.
Cordell herself was surprised that Moore requested that she administer the oath. Reflecting on her relationship with Davis, she quipped, “We would swear a little differently.”