City survey: What do you want to ask San Jose’s next police chief?
Former San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia is pictured in this file photo.

San Jose is one step closer to selecting a new police chief and wants to hear from residents about what to ask the finalists.

The city is hosting a forum Jan. 30 to ask the candidates questions submitted by residents.

“Given the heightened scrutiny on policing this year and the need for strong leadership that is responsive to the needs of our community, it is important that the public is involved in the search for San Jose’s next chief of police,” said Councilmember David Cohen. “I’m glad the city is engaging in a transparent process for this important search.”

Candidates’ names and backgrounds will be released by the City Manager’s office later this month,

San Joseans can submit questions by filling out an online survey available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. The city will review the questions posed by residents and select ones that encapsulate the most common themes and queries. How the candidates respond will impact the city’s decision, according to city spokeswoman Carolina Camarena.

The city has been searching for a new police chief since former Chief Eddie Garcia announced his retirement in August.

Garcia, who served on San Jose’s force for 28 years, was recently chosen to lead the Dallas Police Department. He is making history as Dallas’ first Latino police chief.

When the city previously asked residents what they were looking for in a new police chief, one focus group called for a local, tech-savvy chief who was willing to meet with residents face to face to rebuild community trust. Building trust will be especially important after last summer’s George Floyd protests where police deployed tear gas and fired rubber bullets at the outraged — but mostly peaceful — crowd.

”Community engagement and involvement has been a critical component of the hiring process,” Camarena said. “The Candidate Forum is an opportunity for our community to be involved in the hiring process and get to know the candidates.”

Candidates will make brief opening remarks before questions are asked.

A series of community interview panels will take place after the forum. These will include members of community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, neighborhood associations, racial equity and civil rights organizations, San Jose Police Department employees, San Jose Police Officers Association and other law enforcement agencies. Then the city will narrow down the contenders to participate in a final interview process. The city manager will ultimately decide who will be the next police chief.

The Jan. 30 candidate forum will begin at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast live on San Jose’s YouTube page and video streaming site.

Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] or follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.

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