STORY BY CEDRIC CHAN AND GIL RUBINSTEIN, PHOTO BY ALLISON HUANG
Deputy Police Chief Chris Hsuing is set to become Mountain View Police Department’s Chief this December, taking the place of Max Bosel, who announced his retirement Friday, November 6.
The Post spoke to Hsiung — who’s set to assume his role on Sunday, December 27 — about his background and vision for the MVPD moving forward, especially in light of recent social movements advocating for police reform.
When asked about the phrase “all cops are bastards” or “ACAB,” Hsiung expressed frustration with the public perception.
“It hurts on a personal level,” Hsuing said. “We were all entering the pandemic before the tragic events in Minneapolis. We had many communities thanking first responders, we went from being thanked to driving by nine year olds with the ACAB signs. The vast majority of officers who get into this work do not do it for accolades or to hurt people.”
Previously, Hsiung’s predecessor, Bosel, had expressed a similar sentiment when asked about phrases like “ACAB.”
“A hate for all police officers … is a phobia that I suggest is as unjust and misplaced as other biases,” Bosel said at a Mountain View City Council meeting in June.
Hsuing indicated that he is likely to maintain the Department’s current trajectory, despite taking on his role in one of the most tumultuous times of police relations in the country.
“The MVPD has always enjoyed a very progressive mindset and leadership culture,” Hsuing said when asked about possible reform.
Hsuing, who has been in the Department since 1995, said that he does not have any specific policies he wants to implement once he assumes his new role and will instead work to continue current police initiatives.
Hsuing got his start in law enforcement in his high school years volunteering with his local police department, then worked with San Jose State’s police department as he was finishing his degree in sociology and behavioral science.
He was then hired by the MVPD, and has since worked in a Santa Clara County High Tech Task Force, where he worked with the FBI to fight cyber crime and trade theft cases.
Hsuing wants to continue the Mountain View student resource officer (SRO) program, despite the widespread backlash it generated at several forums the City has hosted on the topic recently.
Los Altos’ City Council recently voted to eliminate the SRO program from Los Altos High School, following the recommendations of a police task force.
“To only paint the picture of a school to prison pipeline is incorrect,” Hsuing said. “There are some communities in this country where there is an officer on campus and their only job is enforcement. But our job is really to be there for the kids that they can trust and go to in times of trouble.”
Hsuing is especially proud of the MVPD’s “Dreams & Futures” program, which works with schools to identify and protect children in grades 4–7 at a “high risk” of getting involved in gangs or substance abuse.
“You take someone who’s at risk and you take them on a college campus tour — it helps,” Hsuing said. “I’m very proud to say that many of those kids have either come back as counselors themselves or go on to work in careers in law enforcement or fire service.”
Recent protests have, in addition to removing SROs from school campuses, called for moving responsibility for mental health responses away from police departments and toward trained responders; Hsiung, however, said that there are many difficulties that the general public isn’t seeing.
“There is this well intentioned statement that cops should not go to mental health, but it gets very difficult once you understand the layers involved,” he said. “It’s really complicated, as to be a mental health worker people need certain qualifications”
Currently, Santa Clara County handles a majority of the mental health–related calls, but it is unclear how much the City contributes to the County response.
At an Ad-Hoc Subcommittee on Race, Equity and Inclusion meeting on Thursday, November 19, members of the public called for city-level support for County programs in the form of funding or personnel. Currently, according to Hsuing, the County is having issues finding employees for mental health services.
“They just can’t get people to be interested — it’s not a very attractive position,” he said about the difficulty in finding mental health workers.
Hsiung said, however, that the Department is still looking into other solutions to the issue.