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Hours after officially naming a new police chief, the San Jose city manager defended the decision to hire Anthony Mata despite concerns raised during the hiring process by some in the LGBTQ+ community.
The San Jose City Council confirmed the hiring Tuesday of Mata, a deputy chief in the department, after a nationwide search. He was one of four finalists for the position, following former Chief Eddie Garcia’s announcement last summer that he was retiring. Garcia has since become Dallas’ police chief.
Mata joined the San Jose Police Department as an officer in 1996 and rose through the ranks, serving as a deputy chief for more than four years.
Shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday, City Manager Dave Sykes released the following statement below, in its entirety:
“The City of San Jose takes all alleged violations of City policy, including alleged violations of the City’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy, very seriously. Upon receipt of various concerns regarding Chief Mata, including matters pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community, which were raised late in the recruitment process, the City immediately looked into those concerns. Based on the information we were able to gather, the City did not substantiate a violation of City policy nor find any reason to disqualify Chief Mata from further consideration as the City’s next Chief of Police.”
Mata is scheduled to begin as chief starting next Monday, city officials said.
“Chief Mata’s extensive experience, genuine passion for public service, and his dedication to SJPD will serve him and our city well in his new leadership role,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement Tuesday.
Mata said being selected as chief is “the greatest honor of my professional career” and said he will “enthusiastically approach the challenge of guiding and supporting our dedicated workforce while also advocating for our community as we re-imagine community safety together.”
Interim Chief David Tindall, Deputy Chief Heather Randol, and retired Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Assistant Police Chief Larry Scirotto were the other three finalists. The four went through community panel interviews and a forum last month.