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Oakland names Howard Jordan new police chief

Interim chief Howard Jordan at swearing-in ceremony with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan
Oakland’s city administrator Wednesday named interim Police Chief Howard Jordan to the post permanently, signaling stability at a critical time for the beleaguered department.

A 24-year veteran of the Oakland force, Jordan has been working to satisfy a federal consent judgment that has shadowed the department for more than a decade. He rose to the interim post last fall when former Chief Anthony Batts abruptly resigned, citing excessive involvement by Mayor Jean Quan in his decisions.

Batts, the former Long Beach chief, is highly regarded nationally; Jordan long has been popular by the rank and file.

He comes to the job as the Oakland Police Department faces a dwindling force -– down to 650 from a peak of just over 800 a few years ago -– rising crime and criticisms over heavy-handed tactics in the wake of the October dismantling of the Occupy encampment. 

In another blow, the federal judge overseeing the consent decree last month threatened receivership if the city cannot comply in the coming months. He also ordered all personnel and policy decisions at the department to first be cleared by a court-appointed monitor.

Jordan’s Wednesday appointment indicates the court monitor supports his leadership.

“Chief Jordan’s commitment to reducing crime and improving safety through constitutional policing, community policing and improving relationships with Oakland’s youth has already made a difference in our city,” Quan said Wednesday after City Administrator Deanna Santana announced the appointment.

“I have very high expectations for his leadership and his plans for reforms and refocusing the department.”

Santana on Wednesday also named Teresa Deloach Reed as Oakland fire chief. A longtime city resident, she had been serving as San Jose’s assistant fire chief. She becomes the first woman to lead the Oakland Fire Department in its 142-year history, and the first African American woman in the nation to lead a large metropolitan fire department, city officials said.

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-- Lee Romney in San Francisco

Photo: Then-interim chief Howard Jordan with Mayor Jean Quan at his October swearing-in ceremony. Credit: Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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