SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In San Jose, residents and city leadership have begun it’s search to find it’s next police chief after months of intense discussions over police reform and policies.
San Jose held its first virtual community meeting Wednesday in an effort to invite the community to engage in discussions to better understand what the community wants in its next police chief and the department as a whole.
A national search to replace current Police Chief Eddie Garcia began after the 28 year veteran of the department announced he would be stepping down back in August.
“Certainly big shoes to fill with the departure of Eddie Garcia,” said Sam Liccardo, San Jose Mayor.
“We’re going to have a series of community meetings to get input from the community about what they really want in their next police chief.”
Wednesday’s virtual community meeting invited residents citywide and those living in districts 2 and 10 living in neighborhoods near Almaden, Blossom Hill and Santa Teresa.
Attendees spoke on various police issues they would like the department to address but all had a common theme of whoever the city decides to be the next police chief — he or she should understand and engage with it’s community.
“What I hear very broadly in the city is certainly an acknowledgement that we have a good police department but there’s things that we need to work on,” said Sergio Jimenez, San Jose District 2 Councilmember.
“I think deciding the type of person we want leading this department into the future is going to be very important and so these discussions are really a way to kick that off and there’s going to be many other meetings but this is the first part of the process.”
With a population of over one million people — San Jose is one of the most diverse communities in the Bay Area.
Jimenez tells KRON4 News the challenge will be to make sure community input from all communities is taken into account when hiring SJPD’s next police chief.
“There’s certainly some segments in our community that want to defund the police and reforms … there’s other sides of the community that quite frankly have a more positive view of law enforcement
“Our challenge as elected officials is trying to balance all those perspectives.”