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Another Oakland Police Shakeup, 3rd Chief In Less Than A Week

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New Acting Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent (CBS)

Acting Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent (CBS)

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OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Acting Oakland Police Chief Anthony Toribio, who took the helm of the department two days ago, is out as acting chief just days after assuming command.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan announced Friday that Toribio had stepped down voluntarily and will resume his previous position as a captain.

Deputy Chief Sean Whent has been sworn in as acting chief.

The appointment of Whent, a 17-year veteran of the department who most recently served as deputy chief, comes after former Chief Howard Jordan on Wednesday announced he was ending his tenure as the city’s top cop and taking steps toward medical retirement.

Toribio took over the helm but made a personal decision to leave Friday after two days in the position, according to city officials.

A statement from city officials released Friday said Toribio “fully supports the new leadership” and will continue to work for the department.

After Whent’s appointment as acting chief, he tapped Paul Figueroa as acting assistant chief along with three others to serve as acting deputy chiefs of other bureaus.

Mayor Jean Quan said under Whent, the city will start implementing portions of a report received Thursday from a group of police experts headed by William Bratton, former police chief in New York City, Los Angeles and Boston.

The so-called Bratton Group report criticized Oakland police for a number of shortcomings, including a lack of information sharing and lack of ability to counter the city’s growing robbery and burglary problems.

Recently released FBI data reported that Oakland has the highest robbery rate in the country, with an average of 12 robberies happening ever day.

The report recommended that the city implement a more district-based structure to allow officers to better address serious crimes.

Whent said in a statement, “Although my appointment is interim, I pledge to own the role and assignment as if it were not.”

City officials will continue their nationwide search for a new police chief that launched after Jordan announced his departure Wednesday.

Councilman Noel Gallo told KPIX 5 that he is disappointed with the instability. He said the mayor is mismanaging the department and its a setback for a city already plagued by crime.

“My constituents are responding negatively. In other words: that we don’t know what we’re doing. Their comment to me is that the thugs are more organized than you guys,” Gallo said.

Community leaders such as Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church share the same feelings. “Only in Oakland, only in Oakland where you see things like this,” he said.

Jordan had been appointed chief by Quan on Feb. 1, 2012. He had previously served as interim chief since October 2011 after former police Chief Anthony Batts abruptly resigned.

A report released last week by newly appointed compliance director Thomas Frazier criticized the department’s command structure.

City officials said Jordan’s retirement is not connected to the report.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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