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Oakland Mayor Hires Former San Mateo Police Chief As City's Interim Chief

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf has selected Susan Manheimer, former San Mateo police chief and longtime Bay Area police veteran, as the new chief of the Oakland Police Department, a city hall official confirmed to KPIX on Monday.

Manheimer retired from her San Mateo post at the end of last year after nearly two decades as the city's top cop. In an interview with KPIX last year, she was looking forward to retirement. "I'm going to take a couple months off, decompress and be a grandma," Manheimer said.

She was also a longtime high-ranking member of the San Francisco Police Department. Before joining the Peninsula force in 2010, she rose through the ranks in San Francisco, becoming captain at Tenderloin station.

Manheimer is expected to begin at her new position on April 6 and will serve at least six months as the interim police chief. She was offered the job by Schaaf and accepted, but will need to undergo a required background check before she is sworn in.

"During an unprecedented response to COVID-19, and when Oakland residents rely on our dedicated public servants more than ever, I deeply appreciate Chief Manheimer for adding to our leadership bandwidth in this moment," Mayor Schaaf said.

"In Chief Manheimer, Oakland gets a proven leader who will build upon our historic reduction in crime, further reduce racial bias, and improve community engagement."

Manheimer said she was "honored and excited" to assist OPD in meeting unique challenges the department is currently facing.

"My 35 years in Bay Area law enforcement have given me an abiding respect for the OPD and its unwavering commitment to the City of Oakland. I welcome the opportunity to stand with these fine men and women and work with all Oakland stakeholders to ensure the safety of this community as we navigate these unprecedented times," Manheimer said Monday.

Oakland city councilman Noel Gallo gave Manheimer glowing reviews. "I think Susan knows Oakland extremely well, she's tough and she'll make a difference," Gallo said.

She will fill the spot left by the firing of Anne Kirkpatrick from her spot, without cause, as the head of the police department. Kirkpatrick was the city's first female police chief.

The move, which was approved by Schaaf, who hired Kirkpatrick three years ago, came after long-standing tension between the Police Commission and the chief.

Oakland's Police Commission said one of the reasons for Kirkpatrick's dismissal was the failure to comply with federal reforms but it was an unpopular decision with the rank and file.

Gallo added, "We need to work with our police department. I trust their work and reestablish the royalty and direction for the city."

The firing was surrounded in controversy. Earlier this month, Kirkpatrick, another former Oakland police chief and a current city councilman called for the firing of a federal monitor who oversees the police force. They said plan to make their case with the justice department and federal lawmakers.

Their argument was that federal monitor Robert Warshaw is in it for the money.

"I came to wonder, 'Who is monitoring the monitor?'" said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick blasted Warshaw, saying he has no interest in getting the Oakland Police Department out of federal oversight because he benefits from it.

"If she's not interested in 6 months in staying longer, she will help us attract someone that will step up as Chief of Oakland and take us to another level," Gallo added.

Gallo says he was also very impressed with her work on the streets of the Tenderloin during her time with SFPD, where she started up the first business improvement district and safety ambassador program in the city. He hopes that experience will help the city of Oakland thrive.

KPIX 5's Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.


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