Oakland

Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick Fired ‘Without Cause’ After Unanimous Vote

Anne Kirkpatrick joined the department in February 2017 and became the first female police chief to be hired in Oakland's history.

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Oakland Police Department Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has been fired after three years on the job, the Oakland Police Commission confirmed late Thursday.

The decision to remove Kirkpatrick as the city's top cop was unanimous and was made during a closed-session meeting. Measure LL, which voters approved in 2016, allows the volunteer members of the commission with the mayor’s permission to dismiss the police chief without cause.

The head of Oakland's Police Commission Regina Jackson said she made the motion to dismiss the chief.

"There are a lot of improvements, but the disparities continue to exist and there are a series of other issues that have just contributed to losing the confidence," said Jackson. "We didn't think that she was going to be the most effective chief in Oakland." 

Oakland Police Department Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has been fired after three years on the job, the Oakland Police Commission confirmed late Thursday. Sharon Katsuda reports.

During a news conference following the announcement Mayor Libby Schaaf said she supported the decision while also praising the progress made by Oakland’s first female police chief.

In a statement, she said, "As Mayor, it is my duty to determine when the trust between The Police Commission and the Police Chief has become irrevocably lost and prevents Oakland from moving forward."

She added she remains "grateful" for Kirkpatrick's work, stating that under her leadership, Oakland saw one of its "lowest periods of gun violence and officer-involved shootings, as well as new anti-racial profiling policies."

Kirkpatrick joined the department in February 2017 and became the first female police chief to be hired in Oakland's history. At the time, Kirkpatrick became Oakland's fourth top cop in a span of seven months and inherited a beleaguered police department that had been embroiled in a sex-abuse scandal involving a teenage girl that cost the three police chiefs before her their jobs.

Oakland Police Officers' Association President Barry Donelan issued a statement praising Kirkpatrick's progress and voicing disappointment with the decision.

“Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was a well-respected leader of the Oakland Police Department (OPD) and was making significant progress in bringing stability to OPD. But, fighting for Oakland’s residents and Police Officers alike does not endear you to Oakland’s unelected Police Commissioners and our Mayor. Oakland Police Officers are disappointed in the actions of the Police Commission and the Mayor. These events don’t bode well for public safety in Oakland. Oakland’s robbery epidemic continues, we face sideshows every weekend, Oakland Police Officer numbers are attriting downward, and crime in every category was up in 2019.”  

The no-cause termination means the city will offer Kirkpatrick one year’s pay, about $270,000, if she signs an agreement about the decision.

Jackson released the following statement regarding the firing:

"Since the Commission’s inception, the Commissioners, along with the rest of the citizens of the City of Oakland, observed the Oakland Police Department’s failure to increase compliance with the court-ordered reforms required under the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA). The Commission’s vote reflects our desire to see the City of Oakland move ahead under new leadership. The Commission looks forward to working with Mayor Schaaf to identify a Chief of Police who will build trust in the community and address racial and gender disparities that continue to exist in the Department and in our City. Our new Chief must address use of force issues and end the need for a court-appointed monitor. The Commission demands a leader who will diversify and grow the Department to the level of respect that our officers and community deserve. The Department must be a model of constitutional policing and justice, and the Commission is committed to working with the Mayor to find the right next leader."

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