Oakland Mayor Schaaf confirms LeRonne Armstrong will be city's next police chief

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ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Saturday, February 6, 2021
Oakland mayor confirms Armstrong as next OPD chief
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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has confirmed that LeRonne Armstrong will be the city's next police chief.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- After a year without an official top cop, the City of Oakland will now have a new police chief, born and bred in the city. First reported on ABC7 News Thursday night, Mayor Libby Schaaf officially announced the selection of OPD veteran LeRonne Armstrong Friday morning

"It is really my honor to offer you the position of chief of police of the city of Oakland. Do you accept?" said Schaaf on a video released this morning with Armstrong.

"Thank you. Yes.," replied the 22-year veteran of the department.

Armstrong is a man with deep roots in the community.

RELATED: Fired Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick levels accusations at Mayor Libby Schaaf, police commission

"I plan to bring a leader that's grounded in Oakland, is centered around safety, the saving of lives," said Armstrong after accepting Schaaf's job offer.

"He's the man for this moment. He's ready," said Regina Jackson, who sits on the Oakland Police Commission. "He's been in waiting for several years and we're going to support him. We'll hold him, but we're also going to hold him accountable."

Currently serving as deputy chief, Armstrong joined the department in 1999. His promotion that comes nearly one year after Anne Kirkpatrick was fired by Schaaf. Kirkpatrick was a newcomer to Oakland, while Armstrong was born and raised in West Oakland where he attended McClymonds High School.

"He's always just a phone call away and he's a person that can relate to our community, which is something we really need," said Cleveland McKinney, longtime McClymond's administrator and friend of Armstrong.

RELATED: Oakland's Chinatown on edge after more than 20 reported robberies, Chamber of Commerce president says

"I think it's important for the image of the African American males, from that community, from the city of Oakland or from any urban area, that an African American man from an urban area, a deprived area, can uplift himself," said Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, a frequent critic of OPD over the years.

Armstrong will face rising crime in Oakland, deep budget cuts and an ongoing process of re-imagining police services in a way that will divert some duties away from sworn officers.

"I know personally that Chief Armstrong has been impacted by crime and public safety challenges we have in Oakland," said City Councilman Lorne Taylor, "and I know he has the commitment to really solve those."

Armstrong lost an older brother to gun violence.

RELATED: Retired Oakland cop attended US Capitol riot, OPD internal affairs investigation underway

In her video announcement Friday morning, Schaaf asked Armstrong: "What do you think your brother would say if he were with us today?"

"I think he would be saying how proud he was of me, how proud he was of his younger brother," said an emotional Armstrong, "Having a dream and then making good on that dream."

Armstrong is well aware he can have an immediate impact on his community.

"African American boys that are going to see me and think, I can do that," he said.

Armstrong will be sworn in at 10 a.m. on Monday.