The selection of Chris Moore as San Jose’s new police chief represented a victory for common sense, says San Jose Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold. City Manager Debra Figone put enormous effort into a process that produced two finalists: the 49-year-old Moore, who has been acting chief since Rob Davis left in October; and Anthony Batts, the 50-year-old police chief of Oakland.
Moore was the safer choice, the known quantity, a man who enjoys a reputation for intelligence and the respect of the rank and file. In coming from behind to win the appointment, he’s shown political savvy and a sensitivity to ethnic groups that distrust cops, says Herhold. Maybe most importantly, Moore will stay at least four years, bound to be a crucial time for a department that will most likely have to endure painful downsizing. In Moore, the city has a new chief with a law degree, a background in technology and — perhaps most crucial for a department facing public skepticism — a willingness to change after listening to a reasoned critique.