SJPD Chief Rob Davis will be retiring at the end of September, and the city is shifting into high gear to find a replacement for him. It will be no easy task. The department is faced with tough budget cuts, which may not affect performance yet, but certainly affect the morale of its officers, who have seen salaries, benefits, and even positions slashed year after year. Then there is the public’s view of the department, which has been charged with everything from racial profiling to manhandling suspects.

Davis believes that the real problem is the “very vocal critics of the police,” and says that the number one criterion for a new chief is a “tough skin.” He believes that his replacement should probably come from close to home, and notes that several high-ranking officers, including Acting Assistant Police Chief Chris Moore, have expressed interest in the position.

Others have suggested that the city look beyond its own resources for an outsider who is untainted by the department’s reputation among some sectors and who can introduce much-needed innovations. Surprisingly, these include City Councilmember Pete Constant, himself a former police officer. “We have to realize the San Jose way is not the only way,” he says.

City Manager Debra Figone, who is in charge of the five-month search process, is avoiding the insider/outsider question, and focusing on the candidates’ qualifications. Nevertheless, she echoes Constant’s remarks by calling for someone who can advance a “culture change” in the SJPD.

As for the 1,300 police officers on the force, what they want most of all is someone with a “clear vision,” who can lead the force into the next decade.
Read More at the Mercury News.