Steve Ford, a veteran leader recently retired from the San Francisco Police Department, has been appointed as Antioch’s new interim police chief.
Ford comes to Antioch after 31 years with the SFPD, which he left as a commander. Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, who made the hiring announcement Feb. 23, said Ford has also taught at various Bay Area colleges, including San Francisco State University. He replaces Anthony Morefield, who was interim chief since October and with the department since 2001.
Thorpe also said he wants to add an additional leadership position to the Police Department: a deputy chief, to oversee the department’s attrition problem, long-range planning, and operational effectiveness, among other things.
Thorpe said it is time the department begins looking outward to change a troubled culture of the past few years, which has included officer-involved shootings, understaffing, and high crime rates, especially those involving guns.
“Our city has not been exposed to best practices and the new ways of thinking which are so critical to an evolving police department, and that are even more critical when wanting to change institutional culture.” Thorpe said.
Ford’s biography on the San Francisco police website says “Commander Ford serves as adjunct faculty at San Francisco State University and City College where he instructs administration of justice and public administration course work. Moreover, Commander Ford is a published researcher-author in the areas of community policing theory, organizational structure theory, and participative management-procedural justice theory, as well as the nexus between those frameworks and what constitutes a “legitimate” community policing organization.”
“Ford holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from San Francisco State University, a Master of Sciences Degree from California State University-Long Beach, and a Doctoral Degree in Educational Leadership from St. Mary’s College (California),” the biography reads.
“We are no longer a small town on the Delta,” Thorpe said. “We are one of the fastest growing cities in the Bay Area, as well as one of the most racially diverse cites in the Bay Area.”
Thorpe said there’s not a timetable in place to hire a permanent chief. He said the city wants a hiring process that is transparent and engaged.
“We’re in the process of developing that process now,” he said.
The sparsely attended news conference wasn’t announced on the city’s website or the police department’s social media, nor was Ford’s hiring Thursday morning. The news conference was made available on Thorpe’s Facebook page.
Ford gave a statement, saying the job was “an incredible opportunity” and said he looked forward to establishing relationships in the community. Thorpe didn’t allow reporters to ask Ford followup questions, saying he was answering all the questions.