Community reacts to mayor's pick for next police chief

- With a wide-range of issues, Oakland’s next chief of police will have her hands full. Anne Kirkpatrick will be dealing with racial profiling, officer misconduct to use of force policing protests.

The new chief has promised to earn the trust of the community, rank and file.

While there is optimism that a new leader may bring much-needed change, already, her appointment has been met by mixed reaction.

City leaders are forecasting a brighter future for Oakland Police under the direction of the new chief— the first woman to lead the department.

"I am more interested in transformation. That's the change of thinking, that's the cultural change," says Kirkpatrick.

A change in culture, change that Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti-Police Terror Project, says doesn't necessarily come with having a female police chief.

"It's not about the gender of the person sitting in the seat.  It's about the quality of the seat," says Brooks. 

She expressed skepticism over the choice of Kirkpatrick.

"She just came from Chicago where she was supposed to implement the controls of the federal government. 

She only lasted there seven months. I'm not sure if she couldn't quite cut it. Who knows why she's leaving Chicago? That's another department mired in big scandal," says Brooks.

"I knew about a week and a half ago that it was going to be her. I did speak with her for about an hour," says defense attorney John Burris.  

Burris has waged legal battles with Oakland for decades over police misconduct and currently represents Jasmin Abuslin the young woman who was an underage minor at the center of the sexual exploitation scandal that rocked Oakland Police last year.

Burris was among the community leaders who flanked the new chief as she spoke in her new role for the first time.

"She has been the chief at three departments.  She knows how to make decisions, how to make tough decisions and is not afraid to ruffle the feathers of some of the police officers based on decisions she's made in other departments," says Burris.  

Others at the City Hall announcement say they're ready for new leadership.

"Although we are very optimistic about what the new chief of police can do, we're very much going to be holding her accountable to what is really going to happen, how it affects us, what will be next," says Mya Whitaker with the Bay Area Urban Debate League.

"She is the right prescription that a doctor could provide to a city like Oakland," says Larry Reid, Oakland city council member.

"She told me she's not looking to go anywhere else. She wants to be here in Oakland," says Abel Guillen, Oakland city council member.  

Attorney Burris says the true test of a leader is in how that person handles a crisis and we will know better what type of leader Anne Kirkpatrick is when that time comes.

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