Oakland police get another new acting chief

May 10, 2013 9:16:47 PM PDT
Three police chiefs in the city of Oakland in three days. Wednesday, Howard Jordan suddenly announced his medical retirement, effective immediately. Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio took over as acting chief for two days, but by Friday he was back to the rank of captain. Now, former deputy chief Sean Whent is leading the department.

Friday morning, the Oakland Police Department announced a new executive leadership team. They're inviting the public to their second annual open house to introduce themselves. Mayor Jean Quan says the city's police department is moving forward under the direction of former deputy chief Sean Whent

"This is a better group than we had a year ago and a year from now, it's going to be even stronger as we implement some of the other training programs," she said.

City officials say Toribio's decision to give up the top spot after holding it for just over a day was voluntary. He will go back to being a captain.

"Obviously during any transition people make personal decisions; Capt. Toribio and I have spoken and this is a personal decision," Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana said.

The shake-ups in the brass came the same week that a report by an independent consultant was released. The so-called "Bratton Report," ordered by the city with the help of former LAPD Chief William Bratton, revealed several problems in the department, some at the top.

Oakland resident Todd Walker spends a great deal of time working with many of the young men who find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He believes to effectively reduce crime, the face at the top matters.

"Somebody that looks like some of these kids that understands what these kids are going through," he said.

The president of the police officer's association says other factors must be taken into account too.

"No direction or leadership creates low morale and officers want to know where we're going and that's key at the moment," Sgt. Barry Donelan said.

Whent is a 17-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department and now assumes what is clearly one of the toughest law enforcement jobs in the nation. The mayor says a headhunter will lead the nationwide search for a permanent replacement. According to the city administrator, that headhunter will cost tax payers $30,000.


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