Emeryville Police Chief Jennifer Tejada took to Twitter to express her support for recently dismissed Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was abruptly fired from her post in a joint-decision by Oakland’s Police Commission and Mayor Libby Schaaf.
“SAD news this evening,” Tejada posted in a series of tweets in reaction to the news. “Chief Kirkpatrick is an amazing, authentic leader whose experience and wisdom is exactly what Oakland needs.”
“An authentic, transparent & principled leader fired for doing her job!,” she added in a subsequent tweet.
Chief Kirkpatrick is a leader with immense wisdom and experience who leads with authenticity, and does it through the lens of fair and impartial policing. Troubling that she was fired for doing her job, and doing it well. #wlle https://t.co/mUoORyKXBA
— Jennifer Tejada (@ChiefTejada) February 21, 2020
Oakland’s Police Commission wields unprecedented power and is the only independent body of its kind that has the ability to vote on the dismissal of Police Chiefs. A power bestowed upon them by voters in the wake of some high-profile scandals that rocked the force.
In 2016, the Celeste Guap sex scandal broke eventually leading to the dismissal of three Oakland Police Chiefs in the span of a week. Mayor Schaaf chastised the force at the time for their “toxic macho culture” and sought new leadership to take the force in a new direction.
After spending a majority of her policing career in Washington state, Kirkpatrick did a brief stint with the Chicago PD before taking the Oakland top-cop job in 2017.
The main criticisms of Kirkpatrick seemed to focus around her refusal to do a complete clearing house off all members of her force that presided over the sex scandal. She was also criticized for an inability to recruit officers that mirrored the demographics of Oakland and an inability to pull the force out of Federal oversight that goes back nearly two decades.
Schaaf, who ultimately signed off on Kirkpatrick’s dismissal, had just recently praised the force for their historical reduction in homicides and community policing efforts.
This week #Oakland was held up as a national model by the @GiffordsCourage for reducing gun violence in our city by nearly 50 percent since 2012. 1/4 pic.twitter.com/YaD1A5ocJc
— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) May 5, 2019
Emeryville shares a blurry border with Oakland and coordination between the two forces is paramount to Emeryville’s own public safety. It’s unclear how dramatically our city is impacted by OPD’s disfunction and lack of leadership continuity.
The controversy is not over and Kirkpatrick has hinted that a lawsuit might be forthcoming. She also cautioned potential candidates that they should reconsider noting they “anyone who is relying on their income…do not come to Oakland because they will not have a job for long.”
The Oakland Police Officers Association held a farewell ceremony for her on Tuesday with many supporters on hand.
Ex-Chief Kirkpatrick speaks to the media before heading inside Union HQ: pic.twitter.com/dT1QUn22bk
— David DeBolt (@daviddebolt) February 25, 2020
Tejada was brought to Emeryville during its own scandal amid the discussion of the use of AR-15 rifles used in the Yuvette Henderson Officer Involved Shooting. She staved of chatter of Emeryville forming its own Police Commission.
The City of Berkeley also has its own Police Commission but does not have the authority to fire Police Chiefs. Some members of the Police Review Commission (PRC) have been actively lobbying for this authority.
Kirkpatrick was replaced by acting Police Chief Darren Allison who was promoted to Assistant Chief under Kirkpatrick in 2018.
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Kirkpatrick was recruited out of Chicago, not Washington state.
Thank you. I edited this paragraph to include her brief stint in Chicago.