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Research & Development Unit

The Research and Development Unit (R&D) answers directly to the Office of the Chief.  The Unit is responsible for research and preparation of complex reports and projects involving inter-Departmental issues and intergovernmental topics.  R & D staff works collaboratively with various City departments and/or external agencies. Reports requested by the City Council, City Administration and other citywide entities are prepared and submitted through the Chief of Police.

The R&D Unit coordinates the planning process for evaluating the current and future resource needs of the Department. Internal workload analysis includes the development and review of Annual Program Plans and Program Management Reports on a tri-annual schedule. The long range planning includes the forecasting of personnel, vehicles, equipment, technological and space needs on a five-year horizon. Additionally, staff reviews news sources and periodicals to identify innovative projects and programs that have potential applicability to Department operations. The ideas gleaned from such analysis are conveyed to program managers for their consideration.

The Unit is also responsible for maintaining the Police library where copies of required promotional readings, study materials, and other reference materials are available to Department personnel.

The R&D Unit reviews proposed, pending and current legislation. Legislation is reviewed to evaluate its impact on the Department, City Administration and the community. The R&D Unit provides a detailed analysis of selected legislation and serves as the Department’s liaison with the City Office of Intergovernmental Relations.  The review of proposed, pending and current legislation is necessary to determine potential impact on the Department, City and community. Pending legislation having a significant fiscal or operational impact receives a detailed analysis and recommendation for “support, non-support or no position.” This information is forwarded to the Chief of Police and City Administration.

Unit History:

The department’s original research and planning function began in the early 1950’s as the Inspector of Operations position, reporting directly to the chief of police. This rank was the equivalent to a deputy chief or captain but eventually grew into the Research and Planning Detail, administered by a sergeant in the old Bureau of Technical Services. In 1976, Chief Joseph McNamara changed the name of the function to the Research and Development Unit and brought the administration of the unit under the Office of the Chief of Police.

While the unit’s functions have broadened, the goals remained essentially the same for the past fifty years: to study, develop and plan improvements that will positively impact the department, its personnel, and its mission.


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