Oakland’s new police chief is a modest, low-key worker who relishes the challenge of having one of the most difficult jobs in the Bay Area, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Mayor Jean Quan announced that Sean Whent, an 18-year department veteran who was serving as interim chief, had won the job as the force’s permanent leader. Whent, who competed against 27 candidates from across the U.S. for the job, said, “Oakland is a complex and colorful city full of possibilities, and the Oakland Police Department must play a key role in the success of the city.”
Whent, 39, is respected in the community and by city leaders as a no-nonsense commander who bluntly lays out the faults and successes of the police department. Whent is not, those close to him say, a showy chief eager for celebrity or a cowboy who wants to stop crime by strutting though the streets. “One of the things I really like about him is you get a straight answer,” said city administrator Fred Blackwell. “You don’t get a lot of flowery stuff or a lot of tap dancing. He provides the information you’re looking for in a straightforward, cut-and-dry sort of way.” In his year as interim chief, Whent slashed violent crime and pushed the department to comply with a decade-old court order to reform, results that Quan and Blackwell said cinched the deal.