San Jose police chief search: A look at how the interview process is going, and who’s in the running

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In San Jose, the search to find the city’s next top cop continues. 

Over the weekend, 7 candidates vying to be the next San Jose police chief answered questions from the community ranging from racial equity to police misconduct.  

Candidates are set to go through several community interviews this week as the city manager is expected to make a decision sometime in mid-to-late March. 

“The next step is really the formal interview process, so we’ve convened panels that will be involved with interviewing each of the candidates and the panel members will include community members, people from community-based organizations, people from faith-based organizations, neighborhood associations, we got some people from racial equity and civil rights organizations, we also have some police department staff, and some people from the Police Officers Association,” said San Jose City Manager Dave Sykes. 

“[It’s] A pretty large mix of people that will be conducting these interviews, asking the candidates pretty rigorous questions, and these panels will be evaluating the candidates,” Sykes added.

“And [they will be] ultimately making a recommendation to myself and my team on which candidate should continue in the process.” 

Candidates will go through a total of 6 community interviews over the next week as each candidate will interview with each of the various panels to ensure a diverse perspective. 

From there, each panel will be invited to share their assessments of each candidates’ strengths and weaknesses with Sykes. 

 “This next part is super important because the engagement, the involvement, and the input from the community and community members is really vital to me and I think to the city in general, said Sykes.  

“As we move forward with the final decision, we know that we’ve captured the input of the community along the way,” Sykes added. “And so the community is not surprised with any decisions that we make.”

Earlier in the month, Sykes paused the search as the only external finalist withdrew his name from consideration. 

Two new candidates have now joined the race: Justin Doll, the Chief of Police in Anchorage, Alaska and Larry Scirotto, a retired assistant chief from the Pittsburgh Police Department in Pennsylvania. 

“We were able to connect with two different people to bring and add to the candidate pool and I think both brought different perspectives, ” said Sykes. 

“And I think all along … we were looking to have a balance between internal and external perspectives.”

The next San Jose police chief will inherit a department facing significant challenges including police misconduct complaints, a call to defund police after racists Facebook posts made by SJPD officers, and reports of officers using excessive force towards protesters last summer.

You can watch the full Police Chief Candidate Forum here.

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