San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel says goodbye to city

Saturday, January 16, 2016
San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel says goodbye to city
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ABC7 News sat down with San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel on his last day on the job and found out what he'll remember most.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- There will be a change of the guard in San Jose as Police Chief Larry Esquivel steps down to make way for new leadership. Friday was his last day on the job, so ABC7 News sat down with him to find out what he will remember most about his time with the San Jose Police Department.

After more than three decades of serving the residents of San Jose, Friday was Esquivel's last day with the department.

Esquivel said he'll remember the "high caliber people here, very collaborative with community leaders, and I'm going to miss that work ethic, and the people that want to make this place better."

We were at police headquarters downtown as the chief said his final goodbyes. He's proud of the work he's done, despite the challenges that he has faced.

"Whether it's disability pension, Measure B issues that effected our ability to attract people, and retain our men and women, whether sworn or civilian staff," Esquivel said.

But perhaps the toughest moment of all was the shooting death last year of Officer Michael Johnson.

"We had a lot of support, and we were there for the family, for Michael's family, which we still are and we want to stay connected because they are a part of our family. But that was very difficult for us, losing one of our own," Esquivel said.

Parts of the chief's three-year tenure have been difficult. At times, he and members of the San Jose Police Officers' Association didn't see eye to eye. Union president Sgt. Paul Kelly had some advice for the incoming interim chief.

"He has to realize that he has to reach out to the officers and stand by them, side-by-side, just like we have to do it with him, the city, and every community member that's out there," Kelly said.

As for Esquivel, he's headed to Tracy to serve as its next police chief.

"There are brighter days ahead. It's going to take some time, but I think getting us through those rough waters has been... just unforgettable for me," Esquivel said.

He will always remember the department that first took a chance on him.