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30-Year SFPD Veteran Appointed as Interim Antioch Police Chief

ANTIOCH (CBS SF) -- The city of Antioch has a new police chief. It's a hire from within the Bay Area, and they come with a long and unique résumé. This morning's announcement took a lot of people by surprise, even people within the city government.

"We are no longer a small town on the Delta," said Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe. "We are one of the fastest growing cities in the bay area, as one of the most racially diverse cities in the Bay Area."

Thorpe says it is time to look for answers beyond Antioch, and that is why he decided to lure a police commander from across the Bay Area.

"First of all, I spent my entire life with the San Francisco Police Department," said Dr. Steven Ford. "I started with that organization on February 4, 1991, my last working day was February 4, 2022."

After 31 with San Francisco Police, and not even three weeks of semi-retirement, Ford will take over a police force in the midst of a reform program started in 2020.

"What I would like to do is make the Antioch Police Department a model officers are attracted to," Ford said. "An organization that they look to and say hey, I don't have a sense of value here, I can create a meaningful relationship with the community."

Ford, who was lead for San Francisco's Community engagement division, holds a Bachelor's Degree from San Francisco State, a Master's Degree from Cal State Long Beach, and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from St. Mary's College.

"Yeah, Master of Science." laughed Gene Jackson. "To see that, as a police chief."

Jackson has been pushing for Antioch to follow through on it's reform efforts. He's hopeful that the resume reflects someone ready to lead the department forward.

"Wants change, listens to the community," Jackson said of his hopes for the new chief. "Listen to people's perspectives. Listen to see 'what is this community I'm a part of?"

"As I mentioned before, I have family and friends who live and work in Antioch," Ford said of his ties to the community. "So it is really near and dear to me because I have people who I care about who live in the city."

Part of the reforms underway in Antioch include how the police chief is chosen. That still needs to be resolved, and then Dr. Ford will have to go through that process. He might actually have to apply for the job to which he was just appointed. Thus the interim title, for now.

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