Floyd Mitchell named Oakland police chief

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Thao names Floyd Mitchell as Oakland's new police chief

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has appointed someone from the outside to lead the city's police department.

Oakland's new police chief is Floyd Mitchell, who was head of the Lubbock, Texas police until September, Mayor Sheng Thao announced Friday.

"Chief Mitchell is a strong leader and smart crime fighter who delivers results," Thao said in a video posted on social media. "His commitment to proven crime reduction strategies including proactive policing and strong officer-community engagement vaulted him to the top of the list."

Oakland had been without a chief since Thao fired LeRonne Armstrong more than a year ago. Armstrong was fired after a probe criticized the way he handled investigations into misconduct by Oakland officers.

The search for a replacement created protracted friction between Thao and the city's police commission, which had included Armstrong among the final candidates for the job he had lost.

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Mayor Sheng Thao on appointment of new OPD chief

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao announced on Friday that she has appointed Floyd Mitchell, a former police chief in Lubbock, Texas, as the city's new top cop.

In a statement Friday, Armstrong said, "Public safety is the most important issue in Oakland.  We have a dedicated police force that now has a new leader. I send my best wishes to Floyd Mitchell and offer any assistance he may desire. This is my hometown. I want everyone to be safe and will do everything in my power, now as a private citizen, to assist in that goal."

Mitchell is expected to start working in late April or early May, the city said. He is expected to be publicly introduced in Oakland next week.

"As Oakland’s police chief I look forward to working together with our residents, business owners, city leadership, and members of the police commission to build a stronger and safer Oakland," Mitchell said in a statement. "I am excited about the opportunity to meet the members of the police department, interact with all the people who call this beautiful city home, and become an integral part of this special place."

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Mitchell is stepping into a demanding position as residents and business owners have complained about violent crime, which rose in 2023. The Oakland Police Department is also overseen by a federal monitor who will remain in place until a series of reforms are implemented and upheld.

Mitchell, an Air Force veteran, led the Lubbock department from 2019 until September 2023. He left his position in Lubbock after the department was- faulted for an increasing number of unanswered 911 calls. He spent 25 years as a police officer in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Pete Dunbar, a retired Oakland deputy police chief who served as Pleasant Hill police chief, said Mitchell will need to do his homework.

"Understanding the culture of the city, of the department, what's been going on, it's going to take him some time. That's why I'm saying, he needs to start soon," Dunbar said.

Civil rights attorney John Burris said, "You've got to get command, get control of the department itself, deal with the community itself, deal with the political machinations that exist within the city, but I think we should give him a chance to do it."

Carl Chan, an Oakland Chinatown leader said, "They'll be a lot of challenges he will be facing. There will not be basically any honeymoon period at all, so it's going to be very tough.:

At Oakland Kosher Foods on Lakeshore Avenue, were stores and cars have been repeatedly hit by burglars, owner Gary Freeman said, "Congratulations to him, I wish him the best of luck. I hope that he has the ability to get more policemen on the street walking around."

Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at Henry.Lee@fox.com and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and www.facebook.com/henrykleefan