Oakland Switches Police Chiefs — Again

  • May 15, 2013

By Dixie Jordan

Oakland has yet another new police chief — departmental veteran Sean Whent, who is taking over as interim chief today, according to a City of Oakland press release.

Chief Howard Jordan stepped down on Wednesday, taking immediately medical leave and informing city officials that he would be seeking a medical retirement.

Second-in-command Anthony Toribio stepped in as acting police chief upon Jordan's departure. News reports earlier today, Friday, said Toribio would likely be replaced by a new appointee. Today's most recent announcement said Toribio would continue with the department as a police captain.

Whent, who has been with the Oakland Police Department for 17 years, was most recently a deputy chief and commander of the department's Bureau of Risk Management. He has already announced new appointments among the to-level positions in the department.

The complete City of Oakland press release follows: 

Oakland, CA—Today Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna J. Santana announced a new executive leadership team of the Oakland Police Department headed by Sean Whent, who has been appointed Interim Chief of Police, effective immediately.

Interim Chief Whent is a 17-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department. He has most recently served as Deputy Chief and commander of the Bureau of Risk Management with responsibility for overseeing the Training Section, Internal Affairs Division, Office of Inspector General, the Criminalistics Division and the Personnel Assessment Unit. Prior to becoming Deputy Chief, Whent served as commander of the Office of Inspector General, which is responsible for conducting audits of Department functions primarily related to compliance with the Negotiated Settlement. During his career he has served in various capacities in Internal Affairs and the Criminal Investigation Division. He has also served as an instructor in the police academy, a Patrol Supervisor and Watch Commander.

Interim Chief 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.

Interim Chief Whent has moved quickly to stabilize the leadership of the Oakland Police Department by announcing the following appointments:

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.

Anthony Toribio: AC Toribio has made a personal decision to step down to the position of Captain of Police. He fully supports the new leadership and will continue to contribute to the Department’s ongoing effort to reduce crime and meet full compliance with the Negotiated Settlement Agreement.

"I am determined to make the city safer,” said Mayor Jean Quan. “This is a strong interim team that will sustain our momentum while we conduct a national search for a permanent Chief of Police. I thank Interim Chief Whent and his command staff for stepping up to the challenges ahead. We plan to implement the recently released Bratton Group report in the coming weeks.”

“During this time of transition, Interim Chief Whent offers impressive credentials that instill confidence in our department as it moves ahead to address a broad range of issues and ensure a safer and more secure city,” said City Administrator Deanna J. Santana. “I have confidence in the transition executive team and in the women and men of the Oakland Police Department who work hard every day to police our great city.”

“Although my appointment is interim, I pledge to own the role and assignment as if it were not...both for the men and women of the Police Department who I now lead, and for the Oakland community whose safety is my personal responsibility,” said Interim Chief Whent. “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. Together, this executive leadership team is excited to play an important role in moving the Police Department forward and enhancing the safety of this community.”

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