Amid High Crime and Budget Cuts, San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore to Retire

SJ Police Chief Chris Moore

San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore is retiring. The Mercury News reports he will leave at the end of Jan, 2013.

Moore was chosen to head San Jose’s department just last January. Moore was the acting chief at the time, and he beat out Oakland’s then-chief Anthony Batts for the job.

The announcement comes just a day before dueling town-hall meetings on the recent spate of crime rocking San Jose. The City Council will hold forth on the topic in City Hall at 7 p.m., while police and other labor unions will try to get a jump on the narrative at a 6:30 p.m. meeting. The news also comes on the heels of Moore’s “Update on Police Response to Recent Crimes and Gang Activity” to the mayor and council. The report says: “When comparing crime activity from January through June 2012 with the data for the first half of 2011, San Jose has experienced a 23% increase in [property] crimes.”

Even worse, the city has seen 33 homicides through August, putting it on a pace to exceed last year’s 15-year-high of 39. August was a particularly deadly month, with eight people murdered in 11 days. The Merc reported in August that the SJPD is about 7 percent understaffed, and that both Moore and the police union blame the city’s fiscal woes… or at least the city’s response to them in the area of public safety…

Moore and union officials say the reason [for the dearth of officefs] is twofold. After pension reform and pay cuts, officers can make more money and better benefits elsewhere, even at smaller departments. Others, including veteran officers, are leaving because they say the once-proud force is dispirited, overworked and rife with morale problems. They don’t see the same opportunities and proactive policing they once did.

That pronouncement, however, came after a near no-confidence vote on Moore by the union.

“With crime soaring in San Jose, officers leaving in droves and the safety of officers and residents we protect placed in daily peril, it should come as no surprise that one of our members recommended a vote of no confidence against Chief Chris Moore,” San Jose Police Officers Association President Jim Unland said at the time.

“He’s faced the budget cuts, he’s faced the no-confidence vote,” said Janice Rombeck of KQED news associate NeighborsWeb SJ. “I guess I’m not surprised he’s retiring.”

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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