New Oakland police chief takes reins on Monday

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Monday, May 13, 2024
New OPD chief takes reins on Monday
Chief Floyd Mitchell takes the reins of Oakland Police Department on Monday.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Chief Floyd Mitchell takes the reins of Oakland Police Department on Monday. Oakland's top cop actually began on Saturday, but he will be in the office, ready to assume his new responsibilities this week.

Mayor Sheng Thao appointed Mitchell as police chief back in March.

"He is smart. He is a smart crime fighter, and he delivers results. And it is what I demand," Thao said.

Mitchell served as police chief in Lubbock, Texas. Before that, he was police chief in Temple, Texas, and before that as a patrol officer Kansas City.

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He now takes on the department at a time when Oakland finds itself with many concerns over public safety.

Recent data from the city shows overall crime is falling in Oakland through the start of this year. But one type of crime -- robberies -- is shown to be worsening.

"(He has) to deal with many problems in our city, especially many crimes targeting our small businesses," said Carl Chan with the Oakland Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

"For the new police chief coming to our city, there will be many, many, many, many challenges," Chan said. "We are still under that federal monitor. So there are certain things we can or cannot do. One major issue is no chase policy."

RELATED: Oakland City Council approves new police chief's contract

Chief Mitchell says he will also sit down with the federal monitor to craft a strategy to get out from under federal oversight.

"I've been working with the police department for years. I've been through a lot of police chiefs," said Brenda Grisham with the Oakland Violence Prevention Coalition.

She says a lot has happened with Oakland police in the year it took to find a new police chief.

"During the time of the firing of Chief Armstrong and until now, there has been a lot going on. We hope he comes in and focus on the real issues -- the things that need to be done, and his interaction with the real community," Grisham said.

RELATED: New Oakland Police Chief Floyd Mitchell formally introduced by Mayor Sheng Thao

Grisham says it took a long time to get the community behind the police department. Chief Mitchell believes he's up for the task.

"Let me be clear: I, nor the police department can accomplish this monumental task alone. We will have to work together to solve these issues," said Chief Mitchell.

"Community, community, community. The most important. If the community works with him, stands behind him, he will go far," Grisham said.

It will take a long time and a lot of work, but community members say the city of Oakland can move forward.

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