Seven finalists will now vie for the San Jose Police Department’s top job.
After putting a two-week pause on police chief recruitment to find candidates from outside San Jose, City Manager Dave Sykes announced two new contenders. The first is Larry Scirotto, a retired assistant chief from Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. The second is Anchorage Police Department Chief Justin Doll.
City Manager Dave Sykes first announced a shortlist of police chief candidates Jan. 25. A day later, Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo dropped out of the running after South Bay activists voiced concern.
Arradondo has been chief of the Minneapolis Police Department for more than three and a half years. He was leading the department last summer when Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, sparking a wave of protests nationwide.
Local activists were stunned to learn Arradondo was a finalist in San Jose’s police chief race.
“Minnesota never dealt with the mistakes and he tried to run from them,” said Rev. Jeff Moore, president of the local NAACP. “One of the biggest issues we have is lateral transfers and cops moving from place to place, when there’s trouble at home.”
Walter Wilson, CEO of Minority Business Consortium, called Arradondo’s presence as a finalist an insult to the Black community.
“How did he make the cut? And if he’s making the cut, this process could very well not have any integrity whatsoever,” Wilson said. “Every time somebody would have looked at him, they would have thought of George Floyd. He had no chance of being police chief in the city or anywhere else in the country.”
Four of the seven remaining contenders hail from San Jose’s police force: Deputy Chief of Police Anthony Mata, Deputy Chief of Police Heather Randol, Police Captain Jason Ta and Acting Police Chief David Tindall. Community members called for more candidate options from outside San Jose’s walls, leading Sykes to pause the recruitment process.
Jeremy Bowers, Piedmont’s chief of police, was the only external candidate remaining before two new candidates joined the race Feb. 9 — but he too used to serve on San Jose’s police force.
The five original finalists were selected from a pool of 18 candidates from across the country. Of those applicants, fourteen were male and four were female. The majority of the candidates — eight— identified as white, seven as Black or African American, two as Hispanic or Latino, and one as Asian American. One female applicant withdrew her application Jan. 25.
To help the public learn more about the police chief finalists, San Jose is hosting a police chief candidate forum Feb. 13 at 10 a.m.
“I will continue to keep the City Council and community informed as the selection process for the next Chief of Police progresses,” Sykes said in a memo. “I look forward to the continued feedback from the community regarding this important position.”
San Jose’s hunt for a new chief has been underway since former Chief Eddie Garcia announced his retirement in August.
Garcia served on San Jose’s force for 28 years and was selected to lead the Dallas Police Department. He is Dallas’ first Latino police chief.
Larry Scirotto, is a retired assistant chief from Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, which has 950 sworn police officers. He served with the bureau for 23 years and has 14 years of management experience. He was the youngest assistant chief in the department’s history. He led the Major Crimes Division which addressed violent crimes. He was also responsible for internal affairs, training education, officer wellness and safety.
Scirotto is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.
Anchorage Police Department Chief Justin Doll joined the department in 1996 and served as Crime Suppression Division Commander before being promoted to chief in 2016. Doll also served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves until 2001.
He held command positions in the patrol, traffic, homicide and robbery/assault units, and the Crime Suppression Division. He was part of the Bomb Squad and SWAT Units and taught at the police academy. Doll graduated from the FBI National Academy and the FBI National Executive Institute.
Bowers has led Piedmont’s police force since 2016. He was a police captain for two years before and got his start in law enforcement in 1996 working at the San Jose Police Department as a lieutenant for nearly three years and a sergeant for four.
Mata comes to the candidate field with 30 years of policing experience. He serves as SJPD’s executive officer and has been a deputy chief for more than four years. Mata is fluent in both Spanish and English.
Randol has spent three years of her 23-year law-enforcement career with the San Jose Police Department leading the Bureau of Field Operations. She was the captain of the Western Division for a year and a half.
Ta has been with SJPD for 20 years, leading the Foothill Division in the Bureau of Field Operations. Before that, he served in various units for a nine year period as a police lieutenant and was a sergeant for five years in the Robbery and Performance Analysis Detail.
Tindall has spent the past six months serving as acting assistant chief and was recently selected to be acting police chief after working for SJPD for 20 years. Prior to becoming acting assistant chief, he was deputy chief of the Bureau of Field Operations and led the Bureau of Investigations as a captain.
Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] or follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.