Next Oakland top cop must meet a lot of criteria

Being the Oakland police chief is hard enough as it is. But the job posting for the city's next top cop is not for the weak.

"If they are scared off, they shouldn't apply," said civil rights attorney Jim Chanin with a chuckle.

It's no laughing matter.

Six months after Chief Anne Kirkpatrick was fired, the Oakland Police Commission has released its wish list for the ideal leader.

Among the requirements, the next chief must be able to "embrace guardianship, rather than a warrior mindset," promote de-escalation and disengagement tactics and "eradicate the department’s role in racial profiling, implicit bias and structural racism."

It's much meatier than previous postings for the Oakland chief.

"Yes it was kind of milquetoast, your garden variety, this is a position," said Regina Jackson, commission chair. "What we're talking about is not a wizard, it's a doable position."

Jackson added, "I absolutely believe that a person is out there. But it's not enough to say 'I am a transformer.' Your actions actually have to say it for you."

The next top cop reports to the commission, which can terminate the chief, like it did with Kirkpatrick with the mayor's blessing.

But in reality, the next chief will have to answer to many. The city council. The independent monitor overseeing department reforms. The mayor. The police union. The citizens.

Any candidate "should come here with their eyes open to that reality," Chanin said.

Chanin helped file a civil suit against Oakland police that's has led to ongoing reforms. He says he's concerned about what's not in the job announcement, "which is a plan to do all these things, and at the same time, deal with the bread-and-butter issues of crime."

Mayor Libby Schaaf agrees.

In a statement, Schaaf said in part, "It's an incredibly difficult job, and Oakland's standards are extremely high. Our residents demand a police chief who will embrace the mandate to reimagine public safety. We want a person who can root out systemic racism and restore trust, but also do the hard work to reduce crime in our city."