Oakland Police Chief Fired After Clashing With Officials

Jeffrey Schaub
February 21, 2020 - 11:41 am
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf at Firing of Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick

Jeffrey Schaub/KCBS Radio

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Oakland Police Department Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was fired on Thursday night, ending a three-year tenure in which she had a strained relationship with other officials. 

The Oakland Police Commission voted unanimously to dismiss Kirkpatrick almost exactly three years after she joined the force.

After the vote, which was held in a closed door session, Mayor Libby Schaaf spoke with reporters saying the decision started with the commission and she had a duty to support their decision.

“The trust between the police commission and the Police Chief has become irrevocably broken,” Schaaf said. “And that will prevent this city from moving forward.”

Schaaf would not go into specifics about what prompted her and the commission to dismiss the Police Chief, but commission members, the mayor and chief had reportedly been butting heads for many months.

Kirkpatrick was criticized by Robert Warshaw, a special federal court-appointed monitor overseeing the department. He had concerns that she was not acting quickly enough to meet several critical goals. He also claimed that officers were using force without reporting it, and reportedly said that only about 20% police officers turned on their body-worn cameras.

Not everyone is happy with the commission’s decision, however.

Barry Donelan, the president of the Oakland Police Officers Union, told KCBS Radio that he is disappointed in the move, saying City Hall isn't supporting the department and expressed skepticism of the mayor and commission's ability to find someone to fill Kirkpatrick’s shoes.

Donlan says he’s worried for the safety and morale of the rank and file.

“We’re right now facing an epidemic of robberies and a sideshow every weekend,” Donelan said. “The number of officers we have is less than it was just a year ago after five years of consistent efforts to build up the force.”

Donelan continues by saying the commission, “voted with their feet,” and warned that the seasonal increase in crime often seen during summer  could be exacerbated. 

He pointed to rising car burglaries, recent high-profile laptop robberies and assaults, saying that Kirkpatrick was making progress towards bringing stability to the police force.

Police Commission Chair Regina Jackson looked ahead to the future by saying, “We want a new chief to build community trust.”

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