Chief of Police-City of Oakland (CA)


The Chief of Police (the “Chief”) serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Oakland Police Department (“OPD” or the “Department”) and is expected during the next chapter of the Department’s history to fully and finally effect long sought transformational change of policing in Oakland. In addition to holding direct responsibility for the administration and general conduct of all OPD community policing, law enforcement, and holistic crime prevention activities in Oakland, OPD’s next Chief will assist the City of Oakland (the “City”) in reimagining the role of OPD in public safety. There is broad community support to replace the overbroad authority and jurisdiction of OPD, defund the aspects of OPD that are inconsistent with its proper role, and re-invest City resources and City authority into modern, community-driven programs and initiatives that better support the full spectrum of needs of our residents. The Chief will champion these efforts.

The Chief of Police is an at-will management-level position. The Chief is tasked with direct oversight of OPD program planning, fiscal management, administration/operation, and policy development.

The next Chief must be a reform-minded leader, able to rebuild trust and nurture legitimacy by actively seeking to modernize the policing model, embracing and advancing the principles of procedural justice. Moreover, the Chief will demonstrate a deep and earnest commitment to transforming OPD’s culture to embrace guardianship, rather than a warrior mindset.

The next Chief will assist the City in its efforts to replace the current iteration of OPD’s policing model by reallocating funds from OPD to community programs and initiatives that support the needs of our residents. The new OPD will support the City’s efforts to steer funds, traditionally managed by OPD, into social services better suited to mitigate problems. This will demonstrate OPD’s willingness to address impactful systemic issues and to collaborate with the appropriate actors and agencies to help address core issues of health and safety, poverty, and education.

The next Chief will promote de-escalation and disengagement tactics and create a less militarized police force. Socio-economic matters that currently fall to OPD to resolve will instead be addressed by social services. This will result in fewer encounters between people and OPD Officers that end in fatalities, violence, or the violation of civil rights.

The next Chief must promote deep, structural institutional reforms, and foster a culture of self-examination and constant improvement within the Department, including an ability for officers to report misconduct safely. The Chief will be expected to have exceptional communication skills, as well as exceptional cultural sensitivity, in order to respond to wide-sweeping concerns raised by an informed and engaged public, the Mayor, the City Council, and the Police Commission.


The Chief is responsible for law enforcement and public safety initiatives in the City of Oakland, in partnership and close collaboration with the Police Commission, the City Administrator, other City departments and outside agencies, as appropriate. The Chief should be committed to delivering quality policing services to all residents in a fair and equitable way, enriching the quality of life for Oakland residents and supporting OPD employees. Specific initiatives and priorities include:

• Delivering safety and crime prevention in Oakland, prioritizing violent crimes and serious felonies;

• Rebuilding the trust between Oakland residents and OPD, and building a residents-first relationship in which all residents feel safe, protected, and empowered;

• Developing policies and policy materials to address and eradicate the Department’s role in racial profiling, implicit bias, and structural racism, thereby helping to dismantle mechanisms of discrimination, oppression, and violence;

• Cultivating positive community relations through sustained, in-person interaction with all of Oakland’s diverse neighborhoods and civic and community groups;

• Promoting policies and rules that support the mental and emotional health and well-being of OPD’s officers and civilian staff;

• Holding all OPD employees accountable in their public interactions and in representing the City, as well as ensuring that all OPD Officers perform policing responsibilities in a fair, equitable, and procedurally just manner;

• Performing police department director duties including preparing and administering a new, smaller budget;

• Planning, directing, supervising, and coordinating the activities of OPD personnel in serving the public, preserving order, protecting life and property, and enforcing laws;

• Developing within the Department a strong internal culture of transparency, integrity, professionalism, and trust so that sworn and non-sworn employees feel more invested and comfortable to come to leadership with questions, concerns and ideas;

• Stressing integrity as a core value; reviewing employee performance evaluations and taking appropriate disciplinary action where necessary;

• Forging effective professional relationships with the City departments as well as with other local, state, and federal public safety officials and organizations;

• Fostering a collaborative and innovative Department that effectively engages the public, the Police Commission, the Mayor, City leaders, City departments, and other stakeholders on law enforcement issues and concerns, as well as the development of innovative municipal law enforcement policies;

• Crafting and implementing the most modern, progressive police management methods and formulating and enforcing rules, procedures, and policies for efficient Department training and operation, thereby promoting fair, principled, and accountable policing;

• Directing and participating in the development of goals, policies, and priorities and implementing strategic plans, as required tasks of the Court-overseen Negotiated Settlement Agreement in Delphine Allen, et al. v. City of Oakland, et al., addressing police reforms in several areas, including internal affairs, supervision of officers, police use of force, training, personnel practices, and community policing; and

• Achieving transformational change and developing and mentoring a capable, diverse leadership team for the Department.


The ideal candidate will be a reform-minded leader who conveys an effective command presence, and has outstanding management skills. The ideal candidate will be capable of inspiring trust and confidence with all of Oakland’s diverse communities, as well as earning the respect and confidence of both sworn and civilian employees.

The next Chief of Police will be well-versed in community-oriented policing and open to creative methods of problem solving; have a proven track record of being accessible and transparent; and for building partnerships between the Department and the community to address crime and quality of life challenges.

The Chief will be a communicative, confident, collaborative, and decisive leader with sensitivity, political acumen, good judgment, astute environmental awareness, strong professional presence, and an inspiring demeanor for OPD to move forward.

The next Chief of Police of the new Oakland Police Department will lead guardians, not warriors.

The ideal candidate will:

• Possess a passion for public service and public safety for all residents of Oakland;

• Be experienced in leading a police department, or have the demonstrated passion for and knowledge of leadership through the supervision of others, where significant crime reduction has occurred;

• Exhibit exceptional leadership, people skills, and cultural competencies;

• Exhibit the ability to work with and establish relationships with a wide range of diverse stakeholders and communities across the City of Oakland, as well strategic partners, officials, colleagues, and the media;

• Have demonstrated the ability to hold others to values characterized by a commitment to integrity, honesty, transparency, humility, proactivity, innovation, equity, compassion, service excellence, and responsive leadership;

• Have extensive knowledge of large, complex urban environments and a successful track record of equitably serving and working with all spectrums of multi-racial, multicultural, and socioeconomically diverse communities;

• Exhibit outstanding communication skills; being hands-on, open, and receptive to working with people to create and sustain an environment of trust and respect;

• Possess political savvy, technological savvy, and the willingness to receive constructive criticism;

• Demonstrate the ability to make decisions based on facts and merit, while maintaining flexibility; and

• Display a demonstrated commitment to community-oriented policing and problem solving, staff development, and morale building to set a positive tone within the Department.


Education – This position requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. It is desirable that a candidate also possess a master’s degree in a related field.

Experience – This position requires a minimum of 10 continuous years of experience in municipal law enforcement, of which, 5 years of service shall be at or above the Police Captain/Commander level or the equivalent.

POST Background Required – The selected candidate will also be required to successfully pass a qualifying medical, psychological, and extensive background screening procedure to be coordinated by the City of Oakland and consistent with California POST regulations.


The incumbent in this position is expected to operate automotive vehicles in the performance of assigned duties. An individual appointed to this position will be required to maintain a valid California Driver’s License throughout the tenure of employment.


To apply for this position, please complete a City of Oakland application on the City’s website and also submit a cover letter, contact information for three references, and resume, electronically, to the City of Oakland Police Commission Selection Committee c/o Chair Regina Jackson ( Applications (including cover letter and resume) must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, September 11, 2020, to be considered.

For more information and to apply online, please visit: