An understaffed Oakland, Ca., police force struggling with rising crime and a court order to curb officer misconduct is again looking for a leader, after Police Chief Howard Jordan abruptly stepped down yesterday, citing an unspecified medical reason, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Jordan was a longtime Oakland police veteran who led the force for 19 months, a tumultuous time of Occupy protests, budget cuts, and wide alarm over killings and robberies.
The department’s failure to finish reforms ordered a decade ago after a police abuse scandal prompted a federal judge in March to appoint a compliance director with the power to seek Jordan’s firing. Mayor Jean Quan, who appointed Jordan, said she “personally was very saddened and surprised.” Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio, a 23-year veteran, is now in charge of the department on an interim basis. Quan said the city will conduct a national search for Jordan’s replacement. Jordan stepped down a week after Thomas Frazier, the court-appointed compliance director, issued an action plan that was critical of the leadership of Jordan and his command staff. Frazier said leaders allowed a culture in which supervisors do not report officer misconduct, and complaints of police abuse do not prompt thorough investigations.