Friday, May 10, 2013

Oakland Names Its Third Police Chief In The Last 48 Hours

OAKLAND//POLICE SHAKE-UP | Oakland Police Howard Jordan is out. Acting Chief Anthony Toribio is now a captain. So, who’s next? On Friday, Sean Whent became Oakland’s third police chief in just over the last 48 hours.

The dizzying turn of events leaves in its wake a major shakeup at the beleaguered and short-staff department more wide-ranging than just a change at the top.

Interim Oakland Police Chief
Sean Whent.
Whent, a 17-year veteran of the force, is a former chief of the department’s risk management team. He also worked closely with auditing reforms in the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) at the heart of the current instability at OPD due to its reluctance to conform with the court-ordered reforms that followed the 2003 Riders police corruption case.

When asked by a reporter at a press conference this morning in Oakland if Whent is ready to be chief, he replied, “absolutely.” He added having no thoughts yet on whether he will pursue the job permanently.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said her administration will quickly look to fill the position through a national search, but did not exclude potential candidates in Northern California.

Despite nagging question over whether the changes this week that began with Jordan’s abrupt medical retirement last Wednesday morning was made the by recently appointed compliance officer Thomas Frazier, Quan dodged the question Friday as she did two days prior.

“We own the decision to appoint Sean Whent,” Quan said, also acknowledging Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana in the decision-making process. Although, Quan was non-committal on whether the moves today were Frazier’s call,  she stated a belief hiring power in the NSA rests with the city. However, she acknowledged any person chosen would have to be able to work with the compliance officer and federal monitor.

Toribio, who was seemingly thrust into the limelight two days ago, said Friday, he voluntarily stepped down to become captain under Whent. “It was a personal decision,” Toribio said. “It was as simple as that.” In early comments Friday, Santana was blunter, saying, Toribio “did not want to be chief.”

The changes at the top come at a time when federal officials are applying intense pressure on the department to implement reforms, in addition, to independent consultants like William Bratton calling for changes to how OPD conducts its business.

Quan expressed confidence the new group of leaders at OPD are already steeped in the proposed changes in policing advocated by Bratton and will quickly succeed. While noting OPD’s had a “weak bench,” Quan declared, “This is a better group than we had a year ago.”


  1. Wow. I say disband OPD. Have our Sheriff take over Oakland. End the sad drama.

  2. It appears the monitor is calling the shots and had no confidence in Jordan or Toribio. Good riddance! The status quo wasn't working so time to clean house and hire a real Chief from the outside if they can find one willing to work with moon face and the crazy City Council.

  3. By MW:

    Both of them resigned due to potential medical problems. In other words, they both realized that once the facts came out the public would be sick of them.

  4. Fire them all. Replace them all.

  5. Quan has become a circus clown. Just change her dress and stick a big red nose on her.

    Seriously, the woman has shown the absolute limits of her intelligence and come up short.

    Apparently she can't even digest how stupid she comes off in these repeated news conferences.
    Everyone hers her reassurances and just rolls their eyes.

    She has lost all credibility. It also calls into question the ability of Santana.
    These two women, as a team, seem to be excellent examples of the Peter Principle.

    Their team is completely in the deep end of the pool and unable to do any more than dog paddle while gasping for air.

    How much uglier can it get?

  6. "How much uglier can it get?"

    That probably a question you don't really want an answer to.