Former Oakland police chief named in candidate shortlist sent to Mayor Sheng Thao

(L) Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and (R) former Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong

Former Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, fired in February by Mayor Sheng Thao for his handling of an internal police misconduct investigation, is reapplying for his old job. An independent report released in September cleared Armstrong of wrongdoing.

In the meantime, the Oakland Police Commission has been engaged in the search for a new chief, per Oakland city charter rules, and in a news release Monday reported that Armstrong is among seven finalists selected from an applicant pool of 20:

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 list has been shared with the Mayor, City Administration, and the full Commission. Among the top seven candidates is former Chief LeRonne Armstrong who also applied.

Whether Armstrong has a chance at a do-over remains to be seen. From the San Francisco Chronicle today:

Thao has previously said she would not reconsider Armstrong for the job, saying that she was troubled by his previous statements that he saw “no need for deep reflection or change within the Department.” The mayor has come under fire by the NAACP for her action against the chief.

That response comes amid contention within the police commission, and disagreement over whether the shortlist was wrapped up ahead of schedule, per the Chronicle:

[Commission Chair Tyfahra] Milele, who is on the search committee, told The Chronicle on Monday night that as a result of the boycott [of commission meetings by two members], the committee was forced to send the list without the full commission. She declined to comment on the interview process of the seven finalists. 

Regina Jackson, one of the police commissioners boycotting the meetings, said the decision to send the list was “reprehensible, irresponsible and unethical.” 

“This is too important a job to be taking any shortcuts,” Jackson said. 

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