Steven Ford pledges reform after being sworn in as Antioch interim chief

Former San Francisco police commander Steven Ford was sworn in as the interim Police Chief in Antioch on Wednesday – raising hopes from many city officials that he would help reform an agency that’s faced recent controversy.

"Today is a new day for the Antioch Police Department and for our city,"Mayor Lamar Thorpe said at Wednesday’s ceremony.

The event was attended law enforcement dignitaries from around the Bay Area, including Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton and many of Ford’s former colleagues in the SFPD, including Chief Bill Scott. 

Ford spent 31 years at the San Francisco Police Department where he was captain of the Bayview station and later worked as a commander overseeing some of the 272 reforms recommended by the Department of Justice in 2016.

He was also a professor of criminal justice at San Francisco State University.

Ford said he’ll use that experience in a city that’s grappling with a number of controversies, including the in-custody death of Angelo Quinto in December 2020 and recent revelations that several Antioch officers are under investigation by the DA’s office and the FBI.

"Here I am faced with this incredible opportunity to positively influence this organization and to pass on what I deem important -- 21st century policing policies, strategies philosophies and practices of procedural justice," Ford said moments after being sworn in.

Typically, a swearing in wouldn’t come with such fanfare for someone who has the interim title. 

Thorpe said he’s standing by his pledge to vet the new permanent chief with his colleagues on the city council.

"I’m encouraged by what I’m seeing here today and what I’ve heard from Dr. Ford over the past few weeks," he said.

Ford said the first thing he'll do as chief is begin reaching out to the city's youth, neighborhood, businesses and faith-based groups.

"No one is successful alone. Or put another way, it takes a village and I'm certainly no exception," he said. 

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky