Tracy names new police chief

October 28, 2015


RS7938_Esquivel_Larry_Chief_trimmed-scr-e1386821848422TRACY – San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel will leave the 10th largest city in the country to be the new police chief in Tracy. The city announced the decision late Wednesday.

Esquivel will replace Tracy Police Chief and Public Safety Director Gary Hampton, who announced his retirement in April.

Esquivel, 53, has worked in the San Jose Police Department since 1984 when he was a police reserve officer. He has championed efforts to tackle gang activity, demonstrated a deep involvement in civic activities and community policing efforts, reduced crime levels while leading a police force of more than 1,000 officers.

Esquivel graduated from San Jose State University and rose through the ranks in San Jose’s police department before taking over as police chief in December 2013.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, he led the San Jose police department through a period that included understaffing, an election year dominated by sparring over the city’s public safety and true crime picture and intense scrutiny about racial sensitivity. The department also came under scrutiny for its officers’ moonlighting practices with the San Francisco 49ers and its use of military-style equipment like Mine-Resistant Armor-Protected (MRAP) transports. A purchase of a drone also sparked a backlash, forcing the department to put the purchase on hold for more public input.

Esquivel had announced his planned retirement in July. That decision had been expected and corresponded with a changing of the guard in San Jose’s city hall and the police union. He will leave the department with contentious pay and pension battles seemingly resolved and morale recovering. 

“In the face of daunting challenges, Chief Esquivel’s strong leadership and commitment to collaboration has steered our police department to keep our residents safe — with the lowest rate of violent crime of any major city in America during some very difficult years for a workforce that lost hundreds of officers,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement to the Mercury News at the time.

He was also a finalist for the police chief position in Tuscon, Ariz., before withdrawing his candidacy, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

He will begin his duties with Tracy’s police department, starting Feb. 1, 2016.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity, and look forward to continuing efforts to engage the community and help it grow,”  Esquivel said in a press release. 

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