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Federal Judge Tells Oakland to Hire a Chief

Mayor Sheng Thao fired then-Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong in February 2023, after independent auditors claimed the chief violated department rules and mishandled two police misconduct cases.

A federal judge on Wednesday told Oakland city leaders, including the mayor and the chair of the police commission, that he's quite concerned with how long it's taking to hire a new police chief.

U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick was speaking at a regular hearing involving stakeholders behind the court-mandated federal oversight over the Oakland Police Department, now in its 21st year, KTVU reports.

Orrick commended Interim Police Chief Darren Allison for holding things together, but he said that he didn't want to serve in this role – holding police accountable for achieving 50 reforms – forever.

"I'm looking forward to when this oversight ends," Orrick said.

Mayor Sheng Thao fired then-Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong in February 2023, after independent auditors claimed the chief violated department rules and mishandled two police misconduct cases.

Since then, there has been internal infighting among members of the Oakland Police Commission, a citizens' board tasked with selecting new candidates for the position, as well as external problems between the commission and the mayor herself.

In late December, the commission sent Thao a list of three possible police chief names, one of which was Armstrong's, a man who the mayor said she'd never hire again.

In the 21 years that Oakland has been under a consent decree, the city has had 13 chiefs of police, including interim and acting chiefs. 

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