LeRonne Armstrong among police commission's chief candidates; infighting still persists

The chair of the Oakland Police Commission on Monday said they have shared their list of top candidates to advance to the next phase to become chief of police, although other members of the commission said the process is being corrupted. 

Chair Tyfahra Milele issued a statement saying the commission chose seven finalists for the job of top job including former chief, LeRonne Armstrong, who was fired by Mayor Sheng Thao in February. 

In a statement on Police Commission letterhead, Milele wrote: "After a rigorous and extensive national search, the committee has identified these candidates as highly qualified for the position and they are recommended to advance to the next stage of the recruitment process." 

The names of the other finalists have not been made public. 

The process among the commission has seen much infighting and delay, including this last announcement. 

Former chair, Regina Jackson, who still sits on the commission, told KTVU that sending finalist candidates is not part of the process. 

The commission, she said, is supposed to "interview and vet no more than four candidates with a thorough and critical analysis and description of the process."

Jackson said that "no information should have been forwarded to the mayor as of yet because we never did this work and the mayor can not act on it."

Jackson added: "Trying to rush the process for such an important role does the entire city a disservice."

Armstrong's firing followed a probe criticizing the former chief’s handling of misconduct investigations involving his officers. 

Armstrong appealed his firing and claimed he was cleared of wrongdoing based on a report by an administrative hearing officer

"The committee wants to thank the nearly 20 candidates who applied to be the next police chief of our beloved city," Milele wrote on behalf of the commission. 

She said she didn't want to delay the police chief decision with "surging crime rates" and other growing community concerns over city leadership decisions about public safety. 

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Jackson added that the rest of the commission learned about the seven candidates through a press statement, another slight to the rest of the commissioners.

In her opinion, Jackson said she believes the commission can still make the deadline by the end of the year to forward a list of candidates to the mayor.

"But selecting final candidates before the application closes is reckless and unprofessional," she said. 

The mayor's office also made a plea on Tuesday, saying that the window has not closed to become Oakland's next police chief. 

 The application window is open until end of day Friday, and the mayor encourages all qualified candidates to apply.