OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Oakland Police Department may still lack a proper chief, but on Monday a new ranking officer was placed in charge of day-to-day operations of the embattled force.

An Oakland Police Department spokesperson confirmed Monday afternoon that Deputy Chief David Downing has been made acting Assistant Chief.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Investigation Underway Into Fatal Freeway Shooting On I-580 In Oakland

The Oakland Police Department website on Monday listed Downing, who had previously commanded Bureau of Field Operations One, as the acting Assistant Chief.

The move comes after state officials said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s plan to have the agency function without an acting police chief violates state law.

Ralph Brown, the spokesman for the Peace Officers Standards and Training Agency (POST), said state government code Section 38630 and an opinion by the California Attorney General’s Office state that a police department must be under the control of a police chief and having the same person serve as city administrator and chief of police is illegal.

The Mayor released a statement in response Monday,  saying that the “leadership arrangement of the Oakland Police Department announced on Friday is proper, complies with POST regulations and remains in effect.”

“Confusion was caused today when a POST Public Information Officer cited government code section 38630(a) in a statement to The San Francisco Chronicle,” the statement read. “This section applies only to general law cities and not to charter cities. In a charter city like Oakland it is the City Charter that provides the legal structure of governance and assigns functional oversight of all City departments, including the police department, to the City Administrator.”

Last week, acting Chief Paul Figueroa stepped down from his position as the city’s top cop after just two days on the job, making him the third person to leave the job in the space of eight days. After his removal, the mayor announced that police commanders would report to City Administrator Sabrina Landreth.

READ MORE: COVID: Bay Area Health Officials, Schools Prepare To Vaccinate Kids 5-11 As Authorization Looms

“I feel this is an appropriate time to place civilian oversight over this police department,” she said last Friday after announcing plans to have Landreth be in charge the department.

“I want to assure the citizens of Oakland that we are hell-bent on rooting out this disgusting culture and holding those responsible accountable for their misdeeds,” Schaaf said.


Schaaf was asked repeatedly for details about the investigation and the officers involved, but said that she was not at liberty to disclose that information under state law.

“At this time, I don’t want to share any information that would impede my ability to achieve the strongest discipline possible against the officers involved,” she replied.

The upheaval at the department come after allegations of sexual misconduct between several Oakland police officers and the underage daughter of a police dispatcher.

On Monday, the Oakland Police Department Internal Affairs Division announced it had placed another member of the department on administrative leave. The division said that the investigation “is separate and unrelated to the ongoing investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by members of the department,” but did not reveal any addition details about the officer placed on leave and the circumstances surrounding the move.

MORE NEWS: COVID: Muni To Suspend 'Short' Line Service Citing Vaccine Mandate Staffing Issues