San Jose police chief announces his retirement

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU and wires) -- San Jose Police Chief Larry Esquivel announced Tuesday that he intends to retire effective January 16 after 30 years of service with the department -- the last year and a half of that span he has served as chief.

Esquivel said it was time for "the next generation to lead."

"It's been an incredible journey over the past three decades, and I couldn't imagine being anywhere else but here as a member of San Jose Police Department," said Esquivel in a prepared statement. "It has been an honor to serve and protect while wearing this badge, and I will forever be thankful for the support given to this department and me."

For the past three decades Esquivel has served in almost every function of law enforcement as he was promoted through the ranks.

He was hired as a police reserve officer in 1984 and was appointed as a sworn police officer in January 1986. Over his career he has worked in patrol, narcotics enforcement, Special Operations - MERGE Unit, investigations, field training, internal affairs, and administration.

"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," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

Esquivel was promoted to sergeant in 1997, lieutenant in 2005, and captain in 2010 when he served as Foothill Division Commander. He became a deputy chief in 2011 and was appointed Acting Chief of Police upon the retirement of former Chief Chris Moore in January 2013. He was officially confirmed as Chief of Police in December 2013.

City Manager Norberto Dueas said he would name Assistant Chief Eddie Garcia to serve as Interim Chief after Esquivel steps down next January. 

"I'm confident both Larry and Eddie and their management team will continue to provide stability, continuity, and effective leadership to guide the department effectively during this transition," he said.