OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU/BCN) - Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf insisted on Monday that the leadership arrangement of the city's troubled Police Department "is proper" and complies with state police regulations despite a state official's statement to the
The state agency that oversees police standards said that Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf's temporary appointment of City Administrator Sabrina Landreth to oversee the city's troubled Police Department is in violation of a law that says a department must be run by a police chief.
Ralph Brown, the spokesman for the Peace Officers Standards and Training Agency (POST), said state government code Section 38630 and an opinion by the California Attorney General's Office state that a police department must be under the control of a police chief and having the same person serve as city administrator and chief of police is illegal.
However, Schaaf said in a text message that, "We have written confirmation from POST that our current arrangement is fine" and said the city will issue a press release later today to clarify the situation.
The Mayor’s Office further clarified the situation saying the city is in compliance with state law and offered the following statement:
“The leadership arrangement of the Oakland Police Department announced on Friday is proper, complies with POST regulations and remains in effect. As was stated Friday, “tactical and operational decisions will remain with the OPD commanders as they always have. Administrative and personnel decisions will come directly to the City Administrator.” As such, Acting Assistant Chief of Police David Downing is the highest ranking member of the Police Department and is the City’s POST designee in charge of tactical and operational matters. Mayor Schaaf made reference to his role at the Friday press conference. The administrative duties of the Oakland Police Department rest with the City Administrator Sabrina Landreth as was also announced on Friday.”
“Confusion was caused today when a POST Public Information Officer cited government code section 38630(a) in a statement to The San Francisco Chronicle. This section applies only to general law cities and not to charter cities. In a charter city like Oakland it is the City Charter that provides the legal structure of governance and assigns functional oversight of all City departments, including the police department, to the City Administrator.”
Schaaf announced on Friday night that she was putting Landreth in charge of the Police Department because of a series of scandals that have rocked the department.
Schaaf also announced on Friday that former Assistant Police Chief Paul Figueroa was stepping down as acting chief after only two days.
He was the department's third chief in eight days. Police Chief Sean Whent suddenly resigned on June 9 and was replaced by Ben Fairow, BART's Deputy Chief, but Schaaf fired him on June 15.
Among the scandals that have plagued the department are allegations of sexual misconduct between several Oakland police officers and the underage daughter of a police dispatcher, the discovery of racist text messages and the revelation that an officer is under investigation for possible misconduct in a separate matter.
According to the Oakland Police Department's website, Assistant Chief David Downing is now responsible for the department's day-today operations.
On Monday, another Oakland police officer was placed on administrative leave and is involved in an investigation separate from the ongoing alleged sexual misconduct investigation, according to the department.
In a statement, the Department said they are committed to transparency, but were not able to offer any details in the investigation as it is ongoing and because, “the process requires confidentiality,” wrote the department’s Public Information Officer Johnna Watson.