Oakland has a new chief of police

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao on March 22, 2024, announced former Lubbock, Texas Police Chief Floyd Mitchell as the city's new police chief. (City of Oakland via Bay City News)

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

After more than a year without a permanent replacement for former Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, whom she fired in early 2023, Thao selected Mitchell from a list of four candidates presented to the mayor last month by the Oakland Police Commission.

According to the mayor’s office, Mitchell has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and is expected to begin as Oakland’s police chief sometime between late April and early May. Interim Chief Darren Allison has been serving in the position since Armstrong’s ouster.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said former Lubbock, Texas Police Chief Floyd Mitchell will be the city’s new police chief.

“Floyd Mitchell is a strong leader and smart crime fighter who delivers results. His commitment to proven crime reduction strategies including proactive policing and strong officer-community engagement vaulted him to the top of the list,” Thao said in the announcement of her selection.

Mitchell said in a statement, “As Oakland’s police chief I look forward to working together with our residents, businesses owners, city leadership, and members of the police commission to build a stronger and safer Oakland. 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.”

Oakland Police Sgt. Huy Nguyen, president of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association, welcomed the new chief in a news release Friday. “We are pleased that the uncertainty regarding the Oakland Chief of Police position has been resolved,” Nguyen said. “Oakland’s diligent police officers eagerly anticipate collaborating with Chief Mitchell in serving our community.”

Oakland City Council president Nikki Fortunato Bas also welcomed Mitchell and said in a social media post that he joins “an exceptional public safety leadership team.”

“Working together, across our branches of government and with community, we will expand our comprehensive safety programs so that Oaklanders feel the safety and security well all deserve,” Bas said.

California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta, D-Oakland, also posted a welcome message on social media. “I personally appreciate (Thao’s) intentionality in making this selection,” Bonta said. “Welcome to Oakland, Chief Floyd Mitchell, we look forward to the work you’ll do to ensure that all Oaklanders feel safe in our beautiful city.”

Armstrong, the former chief, said he wishes Mitchell well. “I send my best wishes to Floyd Mitchell and offer any assistance he may desire,” Armstrong said. “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.”

Oakland Police Commission board chair Marsha Peterson issued a statement on behalf of the commission, welcoming the new chief to the city. “We are proud of the Commission’s efforts to bring only the most qualified candidates to the Mayor’s attention, and we look forward to working closely with Chief Mitchell to achieve the constitutional policing and reforms required to ensure fairness and justice for all the residents of Oakland,” Peterson said. “We extend our sincere gratitude to Interim Chief Darren Allison for his service to the City of Oakland while we searched for a permanent chief.”

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