Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf this week made a conditional offer to former San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer to become Oakland’s interim police chief.
Schaaf, who announced the move Monday, said Manheimer is undergoing a required state background check and tentatively is expected to begin her job in Oakland on April 6.
Until Schaaf hires a new permanent chief, Manheimer would replace former Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, who Schaaf fired without cause on Feb. 20 after Kirkpatrick clashed with the city’s Police Commission.
Kirkpatrick, who was chief for three years, has said that she plans to file a wrongful termination suit against the city.
Oakland’s leadership ranks have been thinning because Fire Chief Darin White recently announced he is leaving his post to become the new chief in San Rafael and former City Administrator Sabrina Landreth left her post on March 11.
Assistant Police Chief Darren Allison has been acting chief of police since Kirkpatrick was fired.
Manheimer served as San Mateo police chief for nearly 20 years and was the first woman elected as head of the California Police Chiefs Association and the San Mateo County Chiefs and Sheriff Association.
“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,” Schaaf said in a statement.
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, “I’m honored and excited to step in at this time to assist the Oakland Police Department in meeting the unique challenges they face right now.”
Civil rights attorney John Burris, who helped commence a lawsuit in 2000, against the city for alleged civil rights abuses by Oakland police, said Manheimer has some experience with the kind of challenging issues Oakland faces and she appreciates that she’ll need to consider competing interests.
Those interests include police officers, city officials, the police commission and the community.
The president of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association was not immediately available for comment on Manheimer’s hiring.