OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — While the teen sex scandal in the Oakland Police Department drags on, Mayor Libby Schaaf is talking about how she’ll go about finding a new police chief.
Framing the task squarely within America’s larger debate over law enforcement and justice, Shaaf says she is taking it straight to the people.
“We have a very holistic vision of safety in this city, and that’s why we need all Oaklanders to offer their perspectives,” said Schaaf.
She wants to hear from one group in particular – youth.
“The young people behind me are the future of this city,” she said referring to the people sharing the stage with her.
A lot of Monday’s announcement focused on things like trust, and rebuilding faith in a department shaken by the underage sex scandal, but one topic was barely mentioned – crime.
“That’s an interesting dynamic,” said former Oakland chief and KPIX 5 police analyst Howard Jordan. “Crime has sort of taken a back seat, but that’s not to say crime doesn’t exist, and you have to focus on that. That’s your bread and butter.”
Jordan says that is the signature challenge in Oakland: continuing to make gains in the city’s long struggle with violent crime, while navigating a political climate that can be downright volatile.
“And don’t forget the officers,” he adds, “because the officers are the ones that are going to make or break you once you become chief.”
Oakland has had six chiefs in just five years. Once again, the search is on.
“We have to do things Oakland style,” says Schaaf.