Former San Jose police chief Joe McNamara dies

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Saturday, September 20, 2014
Former San Jose police chief Joe McNamara.
Former San Jose police chief Joe McNamara.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Joe McNamara, former police chief for the San Jose police department, passed away Friday after an eight month battle with pancreatic cancer. He served as chief from 1976 until 1991.

The former New York beat cop helped San Jose become the safest large city in the country, despite having the fewest officers per-capita.

McNamara was an advocate of community-based policing, and was a critic of the war on drugs.

Chief McNamara is credited with leading the San Jose Police Department in a time of great modernization, expansion and reorganization. He will be missed," The San Jose Police Department said in a statement it issued.

After retirement, he became a fellow at the Hoover Institution and a consultant for the FBI and the Department of Justice.

He was also a best-selling author.

McNamara died in his sleep at his home in Monterey County. He was 79.