The city of San Jose is seeking community input to help find a new police chief. In public meetings held throughout the city, residents have been sharing with authorities what they deem to be important qualities the new chief should have. The meetings are being simultaneously translated into Spanish and Vietnamese.

El Observador's Rosario Vital reports that outreach to ethnic communities is crucial, particularly after retired chief Rob Davis was criticized during his tenure for his lack of leadership in improving relations between police and the Latino and Vietnamese communities. San Jose police have had several instances of highly publicized run-ins with both communities. In one, a Vietnamese woman brandishing a vegetable peeler was shot in her home by the police. In another, officers were videotaped beating Phuong Ho, who appeared to be unarmed. San Jose also had a high rate of arrests for public intoxication, with Latinos making up a disproportionate number of those arrests.
Aaron Resendez, who formed part of the community panel to elect the police chief in 2004, has openly criticized Davis’ work and recognizes the importance of citizen participation at these meetings.

"I hope from this community panel, the city administrator chooses someone that understands our Latino community," said Resendez. "We need our voice to be well represented."

The incoming chief will have to oversee the operations of a department with about 1,700 employees (including 1,273 in uniform), providing a wide range of police services for more than 1 million San Jose residents.

Those who are unable to attend the meetings, which run through September 2, can submit comments through an online survey.