The Truth About Elyse Rivas Lie

The Mercury News should be ashamed of itself. This weekend, I found myself on the receiving end of an attack piece in the form of a Mercury News op-ed authored by former police cadet Elyse Rivas. I was not given the courtesy of a phone call or opportunity to respond to Ms. Rivas’s lies.  In her opinion piece, Rivas clearly and unequivocally stated that I told the recruits in her class on their first day of work that they should quit.  These are her words from the op-ed, “he told us that it would be better for the Department and for us if we would just quit, right then and there.”

To be clear, I never said that or anything like that. In fact, upon follow-up questioning by Mercury News reporter Eric Kurhi, Rivas herself now says that she could not say I used the word “quit”. In the op-ed, she says I did, upon further questioning, she’s not sure??? This stinks.  Here is a statement from two officers who escorted that academy class that day and heard my discussion with the recruits.

This email it in response to the article by Ex-Police Recruit Elyse Rivas where she alleges that she was told to quit there on the spot and that her employment did not help the P.O.A.’s cause in proving that Measure B was killing the departments recruitment capabilities.

Ms. Rivas attended the Orientation on Friday May 15th at the San Jose Police Department. Kevin Mank and I escorted the Academy class during the orientation while at the Police Administration Building. The academy was divided into two groups. Mr. Mank and I were at the presentations regarding the P.O.A. benefits and at no time heard Sgt. Unland tell the recruits to quit then and there and that they were not helping the P.O.A.’s cause in defeating Measure B.

In the article Rivas say this is not about “sour grapes” when in our opinion that is exactly what her article is about. If Rivas would have successfully completed the academy, to the minimum standards per the State of California, I wonder if she would have written or been encouraged to write the article. We will never know!

Greg Salas
Kevin Mank

Also, here is the statement from Joanne Segovia, the POA office manager, who has been present for all of the orientation classes I’ve given over the last few years. All three state clearly and unequivocally that I did not tell the recruits to quit. It’s a lie.

I have sat in on every single cadet orientation that Jim Unland has ever spoken at. What Ms. Rivas alleges is untrue, at no time have I ever heard Jim Unland tell the recruits or any recruit to quit.
It simply did not happen.

Joanne Segovia
Office Manager
San Jose Police Officers’ Association

To further challenge Rivas’ credibility, please read the statement below from a range instructor who worked with Rivas and as you will see, gave her extra help. This is another area where Rivas’ op-ed claims don’t match reality. In her op-ed she states “I was tossed from the Academy because of my poor firearm safety training performance, without being provided the opportunity to undertake additional Department training.” She is not telling the truth, she was given extensive one-on-one training.

To Whom it may concern:

I served as a San Jose Police Officer for 14 years, and I am the Lead Firearms Instructor for the San Jose Police Academy.

A letter has recently been published in the San Jose Mercury News from a former police academy recruit who resigned from Class 21. The recruit was Elyse Rivas.

She made statements alleging that she “was tossed from the academy because of my poor firearm safety training performance, without being provided the opportunity to undertake additional department training”, and that “I would have thought a department…would have gone the extra mile to provide training. It didn’t…”

I dismissed Recruit Rivas from the range portion of training. This was based on a culmination of safety violations throughout the course of the 16 weeks (to that point) that we had been doing range training. I had seen her point her loaded pistol at her own arm, other police academy recruits, and right in the face of one of my fellow instructors.

She alleges that the department did not provide her with additional training. That is an outright lie.  I personally spent several ADDITIONAL hours (at least 7) with her outside of regular range time working on her firearms skills. I had gotten her to where she was shooting well enough, but her safety with the firearms still was not there. There are only 4 basic firearms safety rules she needed to remember- but couldn’t.

I have trained approximately 400 police recruits, hundreds more active police officers, and countless civilian clients in the safe and effective use of a firearm, it is a serious business. Teaching firearms is the bread and butter of my livelihood. The accusations against the range program at the academy are a direct attack on my profession and my program. They are completely baseless and borderline slanderous.

I take these attacks very personally, and only want the truth to be known- no matter how much it hurts. Former recruit Rivas was a danger to herself and everyone else on the range - and I could not stand idly by waiting for someone to get hurt or killed. The citizens of the City of San Jose should be thankful that I helped prevent such a dangerous liability from becoming a San Jose Police Officer.

Thank you,

Pat Comerford

So why did the editorial board of the Mercury News allow this now debunked accusation to be run in their paper? It’s simple. They back Liccardo and know that he is losing this race. What you have witnessed this weekend is a newspaper and its Editorial Board Editor lose any semblance of credibility, shame on them for stooping so low as to print the ranting of a self-professed liar.

Jim Unland


Thanks for this

It helped me understand the issue better. It was clear and supported by several lines of evidence. Have a day. Brian

Here is an Article written by

Here is an Article written by Rivas after failing the BAR for the second time. "Two time loser" as she calls herself. She's only a one time police academy loser so far.

Elyse Rivas, Esq.

"I was a two-time bar loser, and totally defeated. I thought that there was nothing I could do to help me pass the Bar. I even thought that I might have a learning disability because no matter how hard I tried, I could not maintain all the information that the CA Bar expects their applicants to memorize and apply."

Why are people assuming Rivas is being truthful? Why didn't the Mercury news take a minute to contact one or two of other 28 recruits in the room to verify her VERY serious claim??? This is written by a scorned recruit who couldn't pass ALL phases of the academy. Fail one componet and you get ONE remedial. Fail again your out, cut and dry. I was in an academy class of 60 back in 1990. Less than 43 of us graduated. That is a 28% fail rate. Her academy 27% fail rate. The department cannot just stick unqualified people in a situation that can get themselves or people they are sworn to protect hurt or killed.
One recruit was terminated in my academy because his poor parking abilities. He had remedial training but failed again. You can hit one to many cones and and was gone. I think gun safety might be just a little more scrutinized than parking ability? The range master, Pat Comford, at the academy did in fact give her 7+ extra hours of training.
Lets have ALL the facts here not just the biased individual whom couldn't pass the BAR her first two attempts (would you want an attorney representing you or family members in a life altering case with those credentials?
If she had problems with weapon safety in a non stress situation such as the academy police range (where no one is firing back), can you imagine in a life or death situation. What if a citizen life hung in the balance and she's trying to figure out what end of the gun to hold?
I apologize now for what I am sure my many grammatical errors and poor writing (I did have remedial report writing, but I passed :))