Oakland officials will spotlight the four finalists vying to be the city’s next police chief in a forum Thursday.
The Oakland Police Commission will host a forum Thursday highlighting the four candidates vying to be Oakland’s next police chief. In this file photo from February, Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks to newly sworn in officers.
The Oakland Police Commission announced the candidates Friday. They include Oakland Police Deputy Chief LeRonne Armstrong; interim Deputy Chief Drennon Lindsey, who is married to Armstrong; Jason Lando, a police commander in Pittsburgh; and Abdul Pridgen, police chief in Seaside (Monterey County).
The commission, which has led the search for a new chief, will host the virtual forum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with Mayor Libby Schaaf. Schaaf can select one of the four finalists for the role. If she does not choose any of the finalists, the search will start over.
“The Mayor is looking forward to closely reviewing the finalists submitted by the Police Commission and co-hosting the public Town Hall on Thursday night,” Justin Berton, a spokesman for the mayor, said in a statement Sunday. “The forum will give Oaklanders a chance to hear from their potential Police Chief, and give them a sense if the candidates are well qualified to reimagine public safety, root out systemic racism and restore trust, and reduce crime.”
Armstrong joined the Oakland Police Department in 1999 after spending four years with the Alameda County Probation Department. He has worked in a problem-solving unit and criminal investigation division, and served as commander of the Youth and School Safety Section, among other roles.
Lindsey, a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Moraga, joined the department in 1998, according to her LinkedIn profile. She has worked in the personnel, resource and training division and in the bureau of investigations.
Lando, who has been with the Bureau of Police in Pittsburgh for about 20 years, was among six finalists interviewed for the police chief role in Milwaukee this year, though he was not offered the job. A former paramedic, Lando has worked as a crisis negotiator and police lieutenant, according to his LinkedIn page.
Pridgen, a Bronx native, served as a sailor in Desert Storm and was honorably discharged after his six-year active-duty obligation. He retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve as a chief petty officer. In 2018 he became police chief of Seaside, a small town east of Monterey.
Oakland officials are looking to fill the police chief role after the commission voted to fire former Chief Anna Kirkpatrick in February.
The commission — a group of civilians — voted unanimously to fire Kirkpatrick without cause, an action that caught many city leaders by surprise. The firing required approval from Schaaf, who hired Kirkpatrick three years ago. Schaaf signed off on the move.
The decision followed a long-simmering tension between the chief and the commission, which was created by a voter-approved ballot initiative in 2016 that aimed to rebuild trust between officers and their community.
Kirkpatrick sued the city in August, alleging she was fired in retaliation for blowing the whistle on corrupt practices within the commission.
Susan E. Manheimer is acting as interim chief; previously she was police chief in San Mateo. A spokesperson for Schaaf could not immediately say whether she applied for the job.
Oakland has gone through 11 chiefs, including some serving on an interim basis, in the past 21 years; four of them were in and out within a span of nine days in 2016.
The commission said it will provide additional details on how to watch the virtual forum later this week.
San Francisco Chronicle staff writers Sarah Ravani and Megan Cassidy contributed to this report.
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