New police chief Chris Moore is trying to set a more conciliatory tone in discussing the San Jose Police Department’s sometimes troubled relations with the community it polices. From today’s San Jose Mercury News:
Admitting that San Jose police officers have acted unprofessionally to some residents, newly appointed police Chief Chris Moore on Tuesday promised “a new beginning” in which the department will listen far more closely to community concerns and monitor officers’ actions to ensure they are not racially profiling.
Moore, whose appointment became official Tuesday, moved quickly to separate himself from his predecessor, Rob Davis, who had insisted that concerns in minority communities about police mistreatment were a problem of “perception.”
“I don’t think it’s perception at all, I think it’s very real,” Moore said. “Our officers, the way we interact with people, it puts off people. Here’s the thing: If the officers don’t realize it, who’s to blame? It’s us,” he said, pointing to himself, “for not bringing it to their attention. I don’t want to criticize my folks in this regard. That’s a leadership flaw. That’s my responsibility.”
KQED’s Stephanie Martin interviewed Moore after he was officially appointed yesterday. Moore told Martin that one of his first orders of business would be to reach out to community groups who had opposed his appointment. He said he would also consult with an advisory board made up of both department critics and supporters to help him address problems between police and policed.
Moore also said chances of avoiding layoffs due to $30 million in budget cuts were “not looking good.”
Stephanie Martin interviews new San Jose police chief Chris Moore[audio:http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2011/02/ChrisMoore.mp3]
Here’s a video report from KGO on Moore’s appointment.
You can also listen to KQED reporter Tara Siler’s interview with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed last week, in which he addressed the state of the department’s community relations.