OAKLAND (KPIX) — The search is on for the next police chief in the city of Oakland as questions surrounding the Thursday-night firing of Chief Anne Kirkpatrick linger.
Since 2013, Oakland has gone through seven chiefs of police. The current search begins as many question whether letting go of chief Kirkpatrick was the right move.
Oakland’s first female police chief got her walking papers after serving about three years on the job. Oakland city councilman Dan Kalb said, “I knew there were concerns by a few commissioners about things not getting done in time but I didn’t realize they rose to the level of such dissatisfaction that we needed a new chief.”
Councilman Kalb was co-author of a measure that created the community-led police commission which requested the firing of Kirkpatrick.
Kalb says he was surprised by the action but supports the decision by the commission and the mayor.
The other co-author of the measure, Councilman Noel Gallo, appeared perplexed by the firing. He’s having trouble explaining to his contituents why, once again, taxpayer dollars will go toward paying a police chief not to work.
Kirkpatrick will receive a year of her salary as severance.
“The fact that it’s going to cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars when the chief is not here, then I’m going to hire someone on top of that,” Gallo said.
The head of the police commission, Regina Jackson, said it wasn’t just one thing that led to the firing of Chief Kirkpatrick. Commission members were concerned about Kirkpatrick holding back information from the oversight authority and her failure to increase compliance with court-ordered reforms. Councilman Kalb said this is an opportunity to find a chief who can address the variety of issues Oakland faces.
“If we do that we will be able to do the kind of policing to be able to respond to calls and do the investigations and comply with the federal oversight requirements because they make a lot of sense,” Kalb said.
Gallo says this firing sets a tough precedent. The next chief now knows the power this community-led police commission holds over their job security.