OAKLAND — Deputy Chief David Kozicki, the highest-ranking Oakland police officer on scene when two SWAT officers were killed March 21, said Tuesday he will retire within the next few weeks.
His decision to step down comes before a report on the events of March 21, which is expected to criticize Kozicki and at least two other commanders' actions at the scene of the SWAT standoff, is released in January.
Specific details were not available, but the report is expected to conclude that some department policies, rules and regulations, and training procedures were not followed for the type of incident the SWAT officers were facing, officials said.
Kozicki, 51, said he originally had planned to retire in May 2010.
He acknowledged the March 21 incident — in which parolee Lovelle Mixon fatally shot motorcycle Officer John Hege and Sgt. Mark Dunakin before killing SWAT Sgts. Ervin Romans and Daniel Sakai when police raided an apartment where Mixon was hiding — played a role in his decision to step aside sooner.
"It's part of the reason I think I need to move on," he said, adding that he was not forced out.
Officials said the report will not recommend disciplinary measures, though officers could be disciplined through the Police Department's internal process.
Kozicki said he did not know what the report's conclusions will be or whether he was facing discipline. He also declined to talk about whether he would have done anything differently March 21.
"I think all the people involved in that incident have been criticized in unofficial circles," he said. "The luxury of hindsight is that it is always 20/20."
Through a spokesman, police Chief Anthony Batts declined to comment. Assistant Chief Howard Jordan, who was acting chief March 21, declined to address the report but praised Kozicki's work in nearly 29 years with the department.
"Dave has been a leader in this organization," Jordan said. "He has been very creative. He's been an integral part of the executive team and was instrumental in helping the department achieve the goal in this year and in past years of reducing crime."
Kozicki joined the department in 1981 as a patrol officer. He worked his way up the ranks, becoming a deputy chief in August 2007. In his time in Oakland, he worked as a robbery and homicide investigator and served as commander of the traffic unit and SWAT teams.
As commander of the traffic unit, Kozicki was instrumental in getting legislation passed in Sacramento allowing police to tow and impound cars used in illegal sideshow activity for up to 30 days at the owner's expense.
Kozicki said the most difficult part of his job was attending funerals of fellow officers and of murder victims whose cases he investigated.
Some of the highlights of his career, he said, were solving murder cases and other serious crimes in Oakland. He said he is also proud of his commitment to fulfilling the department's obligations under Measure Y and his role in implementing geographic policing in 2008.
Kozicki led Oakland delegations to Pittsburgh, Pa., and Tacoma, Wash., for the funerals of officers killed in the line of duty in those areas after the March 21 incident in Oakland.
In the past year, he put his name in the hat when San Francisco was searching for a police chief and was a finalist for the police chief position at UC Berkeley, but he did not get either job.
"I had a good career at the Oakland Police Department," Kozicki said. "I think I've accomplished a lot here. I've appreciated the experiences of working with some great men and women. "... I've had some experiences where I've stumbled and learned from those experiences. I've also had experiences where I've excelled, and I take a lot of pride in those."
Kozicki's pension will be close to his budgeted salary of $187,351 because he will receive premiums for having a bachelor's degree and a Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training certificate.