San Jose residents give input as city searches for new police chief

Lauren Martinez Image
Thursday, March 14, 2024
SJ residents give input as city searches for new police chief
San Jose residents are providing feedback to help the city find a new police chief.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose residents are providing feedback to help the city find a new police chief.

The city manager's office said before they start advertising the position online, they are gathering input from the community.

Lee Wilcox is the assistant city manager.

"That is very critical input into helping develop a candidate profile into what we're looking for and ultimately what we'll give to executive recruiters to look at," Wilcox said.

San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata is leaving the force at the end of this month.

MORE: San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata announces retirement after 28 years with department

He'll be taking on a new role in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Chief Mata has been at the helm of the department through several personnel controversies.

"First and foremost, I think we want someone who understand and wants to be a part of the San Jose community and the San Jose way - and second of all someone is going to be creative and nimble and they can address problems as they come up," Wilcox said.

During the month of March, the city is encouraging the community to speak up either through an online survey or one of several in-person meetings.

They have translators for Vietnamese or Spanish speakers.

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Maria Ortega is a member of the Cadillac Winchester Neighborhood Association.

As a mom and college student herself, she wanted to voice problems she sees needing to be addressed.

"The drugs, alcohol, gangs," Ortega said.

But also, encourage those around her to advocate for the safety of their children and families.

"And I bring my neighbors because that's why I need to speak what's concerning the community," Ortega said.

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Francisco Bueno said an officer was once a mentor for him in high school and talked about how valuable a positive presence is for youth.

"Being able to have that connection and being able to talk with them really helped change my perspective on them," Bueno said.

Bueno said these meetings are a step in the right direction.

"I think they did a great job at organizing this event. I think more events like this are definitely going to be very helpful," Bueno said.

And he encourages younger people to get involved in these conversations.

"At the end of the day, all these things impact us and so if they have any idea of a community they would like to live in they can come in and make their voice heard," Bueno said.

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