EXCLUSIVE: After one week on the job, Oakland's interim police chief talks challenges, goals for department

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- After one week on the job, interim Oakland Police Chief Susan Manheimer spoke exclusively with ABC7 anchors Kristen Sze and Dan Ashley about the challenges she is facing and the goals she is setting for her department.

Manheimer took the helm April 6, bringing with her more than 35 years of policing experience in the Bay Area.

She had just retired in December as the first female police chief of San Mateo for 19 years.

Prior to that, Manheimer spent 17 years with the San Francisco Police Department, most of that overseeing the Tenderloin District.

She is highly-regarded and was the first woman to serve as president of the California Police Chiefs Association.

Manheimer is a native of the Bronx in New York.

Mayor Libby Schaaf appointed Chief Manheimer to fill the leadership void after previous Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was fired without cause by the mayor in February, acting on the recommendation of the Oakland Police Commission.

RELATED: Oakland Police Department personnel want answers after firing of Chief Anne Kirkpatrick

Her firing is the latest controversy for the police department of the Bay Area's third largest city.

The Oakland Police Department has had a troubled history with eleven chiefs over the past ten years, and enormous tension between the police officers association and the citizen-led Oakland Police Commission.

In addition, there has been historic mistrust of the department and its officers among many in the public.

In this wide-ranging interview, Chief Manheimer outlines for ABC7 some of her objectives as she takes the rein for at least six months, although the length could be extended.

She cites building bridges between the officers, city hall and the police commission as a top priority, along with tackling both violent and property crime.

Manheimer was asked about the skelly officer report released last week that recommended the firing of five police officers for their role in the fatal shooting of Joshua Pawlik, a 32-year-old homeless man.

The case is widely believed to be a major factor in the firing of former chief Kirkpatrick, who had cleared the officers even as the police commission demanded their firing.

RELATED: Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick out after commission votes unanimously to fire her

Manheimer said that's been decided and is in the past, and she's moving forward with trying to unify the different factions for the safety of Oakland residents and officers.

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