Oakland Police Interim Chief Jordan Staying Put; New Fire Chief Named
OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Oakland Mayor Jean Quan on Wednesday announced that interim police Chief Howard Jordan will head the Police Department on a permanent basis.
Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana also named Teresa Reed, an assistant chief with the San Jose Fire Department, as the city’s new fire chief.
The mayor had tapped Jordan to act as interim chief in October after former police Chief Anthony Batts abruptly resigned, citing reasons including that he had limited control but full accountability for the city’s high crime rate.
Jordan has been with the department for more than two decades, serving as a patrol officer for 10 years and a field supervisor for 13. He served on the department’s SWAT team for seven years.
He has also served as police chief for the Oakland Unified School District, and Quan said Wednesday that she first met Jordan while serving on Oakland’s board of education.
She said the school district sought to bring on a chief who would make that force more professional and forge a relationship between students and police.
“Howard Jordan did an amazing job,” Quan said.
KCBS’ Jane McMillan Reports:
In the short time since Jordan was named interim chief of the Oakland Police Department last year, he has grappled with issues including violent crime, budget constraints and the question of how to handle the recurring Occupy Oakland protests.
Jordan had served as interim chief once previously, being named to the post in February 2009 after former Chief Wayne Tucker retired. After Batts took over in August 2009, Jordan served as assistant chief.
Quan and Santana said they have high hopes for Jordan as permanent chief, and said they believe he can cut crime, better engage the community, and bring Oakland into compliance with court-mandated reforms.
“I have very high expectations for his leadership,” Quan said. “He comes in at a very tough time. I think Howard Jordan will be a historic chief for the city of Oakland.”
Santana said she delayed appointing Jordan as a permanent chief until after a Jan. 26 court hearing related to a 2003 civil rights lawsuit requiring the department to make reforms.
Oakland’s police have been slow to implement the changes, leading U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson to grant more power to a court-appointed monitor. Henderson stopped short of placing the department under federal receivership but said he would do so if necessary.
Jordan said he intends to practice “good Constitutional policing” and said the department is capable of enforcing the law within the court’s requirements.
“This department is a good department,” Jordan said.
He said he will work closely with the court-appointed monitor. “We will provide services at the level the city expects from us,” he said.
Jordan said he was first informed that he had been chosen to lead the department permanently a week ago, and when he heard the news he “shed a tear of joy.”
Oakland’s new fire chief will be the first black woman to serve as fire chief for a major metropolitan area.
Reed has been with the San Jose Fire Department since 1986 and has risen through the ranks to assistant fire chief.
She has lived in the Oakland area for 22 years, and said she is pleased to finally be working with her home department.
“This is not just any fire department, this is the fire department that serves the community where I call home,” Reed said. “It’s good to be home.”
Reed will assume control of the department on March 5, taking over for interim fire Chief Mark Hoffman.
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