Oakland Has a New Police Chief – Again

City Councilman Noel Gallo said gangs and thugs were more organized than the city of Oakland

Longevity would not be a word to describe the tenure of Oakland's recent police chiefs.

About 48 hours after Anthony Toribio was dubbed the acting chief of OPD after Howard Jordan surprised everyone saying he was stepping down, there's a new chief in town.

Deputy Chief Sean Whent, who comes from Internal Affairs, is expected to be sworn in as acting chief  on Friday morning. He said at a news conference on Friday that he's "excited to move the department and the city forward."

“Although my appointment is interim, I pledge to own the role and assignment as if it were not...,” Whent added. “I have been part of the team that has worked with national experts in the fields of crime reduction and enforcement strategies to develop a hot-off-the press plan for tackling robberies, burglaries, and shootings. I am confident that we can implement the recommendations in that plan in short order.”

Whent most recently served as deputy chief and commander of the bureau of risk management which oversaw the training section, Internal Affairs division, Office of Inspector General, the criminalistics division and the personnel Assessment Unit.

Whent has a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice administration from Cal State East Bay, and he is currently pursuing a master's degree in criminology, law, and society from the University of California at Irvine.

City Manager Deanna Santana said Whent - a 17-year-veteran has "impressive credentials."

Mayor Jean Quan added that it was a "tough and fast week," and that "we are determined to make the city safe" and as stable as "soon as possible."

City Councilman Noel Gallo, who is also on the city's public safety committee, said he was taken by surprise at the changing of the guards, and that he had been kept on the dark about the last-minute switches.

"It appears as though gangs and thugs are more organized than we are," Gallo said.

A city statement said that Toribio was voluntarily stepping down, after a "personal decision." No further details were released.

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Here is a list of a reorganization of some of OPD's top brass:

  • Paul Figueroa: Acting Assistant Chief responsible for day-to-day operations of the Police Department
  • Eric Breshears: Deputy Chief, Commander of Bureau of Strategic Initiatives including the Ceasefire program and Compstat
  • Danielle Outlaw:  Acting Deputy Chief, Commander of the Bureau of Risk Management, which includes the Training Section, Internal Affairs Division, Office of Inspector General, and Criminalistics Division 
  • David Downing: Acting Deputy Chief, Commander of Bureau of Field Operations
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