SAN JOSE (CBS 5 / AP / BCN) — Acting San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore was appointed Tuesday to hold the position permanently.
The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved City Manager Debra Figone’s recommendation of Moore, a 25-year-veteran, over fellow finalist Anthony Batts, the current police chief in Oakland.
“Chris Moore without question is the best person to lead the San Jose Police Department at this moment in time,” Figone said. “He understands the need for change. He understands the significant challenges ahead of us.”
Moore has been San Jose’s acting police chief since former chief Rob Davis retired at the end of October.
Moore’s appointment comes as the 1,250-officer department is facing major cutbacks, demotions, layoffs and trust issues within minority communities.
KCBS’ Mike Colgan:
San Jose also has seen a recent spike in homicides that city leaders are calling an aberration.
On Tuesday, Moore promised improvements in the department, beginning with changing a car-impound policy and bias-based profiling policy.
At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, he said he would change the city’s car impoundment policy, which requires police to tow and impound vehicles of unlicensed drivers for 30 days. Some view the practice as racist because it disproportionately impacts immigrant communities.
He said the policy is using up inordinate time and resources with no measurable benefit.
“It doesn’t make sense for the community, and it doesn’t make sense for the Police Department,” Moore said. “That’s how I think, and that’s how I operate.”
Moore said he would investigate complaints related to bias-based police conduct and modify the department’s bias-based police policy.
He said he would also establish a community advisory board to assist him and his command staff.
LaDoris Cordell, the city’s independent police auditor, said, “I know that Chris Moore will prove himself to be an extraordinary leader of the department.”
She credited his “demonstrated willingness to listen and take action” and said she has high expectations of him and of Diane Urban, whom he promoted to be his assistant chief.
“I expect you both to be leaders who walk the walk,” Cordell said. “I expect you to be open and responsive to the members of your department and to members of our community. And most importantly I expect you to have the courage to do what is right no matter how uncomfortable doing right may make you feel.”
Moore said the community meetings he attended during the recruitment process helped him realize there is a lack of trust in the Police Department. He wants to change that, he said.
“I respectfully request to all those that would have preferred a different chief that you stay actively engaged in the community dialogue that you have helped start,” Moore said. “I ask that you view my appointment as a new beginning… I need your help, and I need your support.”
Moore began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer in 1985. He was promoted to sergeant in 1993, lieutenant in 1998, and captain in 2006. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley and is a member of the State Bar of California.
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