There’s almost too much good and heroism in San Jose police officer Greg Wharton’s story to fit in one post. His story is like The Rookie TV show come to life.
Greg Wharton doesn’t have to be a cop and he was almost too old to go through police school when he did — for the second time. He suffered an injury on the job in 2011 that became permanent, but he returned to the force within a year. He was laid off from the force once when San Jose, Calif., defunded its police in 2012.
After returning to duty, Wharton and his partner were called to the scene of a burning truck. That was in July 2019. There they found a man having a mental health crisis. They had seconds to act.
Upon arrival at the scene, Officers Perelli and Wright located the 56-year old homeless man near a parked van. They requested that individual step away from the vehicle but the man refused.
They quickly noticed smoke and realized that the vehicle was actually on fire. Instead of cooperating with the police, the man instead attempted to get inside the burning vehicle and managed to clutch to a tire.
Realizing that the man was suffering some sort of mental health crisis, the officer jumped into action.
The vehicle was quickly entirely engulfed in flames and the officers did not have much time. The homeless man still clung to the tire and refused to retreat from the flames. Acting quickly, Officer Wharton fired his taser causing the man to release.
The officers then grabbed the man and dragged him away from the vehicle. Just moments later, the van exploded in the spot the officers and homeless man had just been.
I probably should have mentioned that the burning truck was near an elementary school that was in session. The van was also carrying several propane tanks. After the police officers saved the man, firefighters prevented the explosion from threatening the school.
As Chief, I have the honor of working with these men and women. This is why I love those who put on this uniform and run head-on, and not away, from the unknown dangers of each day! These pictures needed to be shared. pic.twitter.com/DAcAKw8iJx
— Chief Eddie Garcia (Ret.) (@sjpdchief) July 17, 2019
At that time, Officer Wharton was also Greg Wharton, a very successful tech executive who had sold his Internet start-up. According to his official bio, he was moonlighting as a cop because he wanted to help his community.
At age 29, while working as a senior counsel for a large multi-national technology company, Greg put himself through the Evergreen Regional Police Academy at nights and on weekends to become a Reserve Police Officer in San Jose, CA – the 10th largest city in the country. He graduated first in his class. Greg worked hundreds of uniformed patrol shifts in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city — earning multiple Letters of Commendation — for no pay. His unusual dual life – technology company legal executive and police officer — and devotion to public service was later profiled in a leading California newspaper.
At age 38, after his most recent start-up Internet company had been acquired, instead of resting on his laurels, Greg took an 85% pay-cut and entered the San Jose Police Department’s in-house Police Academy in order to pursue police work full-time as public service. Some of his classmates were Division I athletes and members of elite military units. He was the 3rd oldest recruit to start the rigorous paramilitary program- and the oldest recruit to finish. But Greg did not just finish- he graduated first overall in his class.
Wharton also solved a murder, as a patrol officer.
Like many Californians, Wharton has since moved to Texas. He’s now mayor of The Hills, Texas, a tiny suburb of Austin. Austin, of course, defunded its police in 2020. The mainstream media here put up no resistance to that, but it’s belatedly noticing the death and destruction that putting anti-cop radicals in power is causing.
Austin has hit 48 murders in 2021, matching in 7 months the city’s homicide total across all of 2020. And 2020 was worse than 2019, which was worse than 2018.
Local TV station KVUE investigated (warning: autoplay video at the link) radical Democrat District Attorney Jose Garza’s catch and release policies — first reported in detail by PJ Media — and found a deeply disturbing trend in which criminals are being put back on the streets at a shocking rate.
The KVUE Defenders analyzed hundreds of cases thrown out between March 1 and June 30 of this year. Some of the more serious rejected felony charges include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault of a pregnant woman, aggravated robbery and more.
During the four months analyzed, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office rejected 142 felony cases – a 735% increase from the same timeframe in 2020. Of those, records show 93 state jail drug felony charges were rejected, about two-thirds of the entire list obtained through public records by the Defenders.
Garza is also the DA who came into office promising not to fight for public safety, but to prosecute cops. His pose and attitude have consequences. Crime is skyrocketing and homicides are rising sharply. The defunded APD has fewer cops to solve crimes. The DA and County Attorney Delia Garza are both putting criminals back on the streets according to KVUE.
County Attorney Delia Garza’s office handles misdemeanors and is rejecting them by the hundreds. Records obtained by the Defenders show prosecutors in her office threw out 543 cases from March through June.
“This office is no longer rubber-stamping police arrests. We are looking at them closely. We are looking at them early,” County Attorney Garza said.
About 37% or 202 of the 543 rejected misdemeanor cases were not presented to a judge, as part of the new early case review policy. The policy started March 1 for misdemeanor offenses.
“Instead of creating a situation where somebody could have this record that could affect their housing, student loans, all kinds of things, we’re allowing them to not have that kind of record if, in fact – and a great majority of these cases – would have been rejected down the line,” County Attorney Garza said.
The two prosecutors have no evident regard for crime victims or the cops whose cases they ignore.
Greg Wharton certainly isn’t like every cop on the beat. He’s a tech executive who could choose to sit back enjoy his wealth and status. But his attitude of service to community is a whole lot closer to universal among police than any of the anti-police activists and radicals who are turning our cities into war zones will ever admit.