OAKLAND — As Oakland takes its first steps toward finding a new police chief, the City Council will vote this evening on a recommendation that the next chief come from outside the Police Department's ranks.
The meeting comes one week after police Chief Wayne Tucker announced his resignation effective Feb. 28. Tucker was facing a potential no-confidence vote from the council and, when he resigned, cited "irreconcilable differences" with council members who he said offer only "lip service" to public safety in Oakland.
The Police Department has been beset lately by a number of high-profile problems, including its much-criticized investigation of the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey in 2007 and allegations that some officers falsified affidavits for search warrants.
Oakland's crime rate also hurt council members' confidence in Tucker's leadership in the department.
Council President Jane Brunner (North Oakland) and Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) introduced the resolution calling for an outside chief.
"Obviously I think it's essential that we get the best person, with expertise and a track record," De La Fuente said. "With the history of the problems that we've been having for the last several years, I think it's important that the chief come from the outside."
The council is also expected to approve $50,000 to conduct a national search for a new chief. The council meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Sgt. Dom Arotzarena, head of Oakland's police union, said it was a "slap in the face" to make a blanket recommendation against anyone in the department.
"I think there may be a really good candidate within the Police Department and that they would discount that is just another way of demoralizing the commanders that are at OPD right now," Arotzarena said.
The council ultimately does not have authority over who is hired as chief. Mayor Ron Dellums said last week he intends to launch a national search, but did not commit explicitly to hiring someone outside the department.
Dellums has said he will demand the next chief be an "agent of change" dedicated to compliance with the Riders settlement, community-oriented and geographic-based policing, crime reduction, and enhancing the community's trust in the police force.
"I want — make no mistake about this — a national search to find the best possible chief that we can, as expeditiously as we can, without compromise of any principals," Dellums said Thursday.
Reach Kelly Rayburn at 510-208-6435.