Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Oakland Police Commission jointly fired Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. The move ends a period of leadership marked by seemingly constant controversy and turmoil. The one best way to overcome our recent past is to elevate one of the best Oakland Police Department leaders available: Deputy Chief LeRonne Armstrong.
Deputy Chief LeRonne Armstrong is someone who’s known and liked and respected by pretty much everyone in our town. He’s served our city as a police officer for 21 years, and while there are those who will remark that he represents a police department that has become too militarized, it’s important to realize that we had a police chief from another city, Anne Kirkpatrick, who led the move toward such an approach. Too often, Oakland wants to ignore the dark underbelly of our society, where, as Deputy Chief Armstrong once put it, “people in our community were using rifles against other people.” He then remarked that “we have been progressive in terms of when we use this equipment. We’re actually monitoring the use of this equipment. There are some things we don’t get credit for. We are advanced for other departments.”
In my experience, LeRonne Armstrong has provided the right mix of community care and hard truths. He gives you the straight news, often without a chaser, but with a view that has a baked-in understanding of what the Oakland communities fears and concerns are. Moveover, he’s been tempered in the crucible that is Oakland for 21 years, and understands how to related to us. For example, in 2018 Deputy Chief Armstrong remarked that “When you practice precision-based or intelligence-based policing, you have to focus in on those who are committing crimes. The (racial) disparity exists based on who commits crimes in this city.”
When Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan (At-Large) took issue with his statement, Deputy Chief Armstrong apologized and said “I think some people took the comment out of context. I apologize that the community has had to endure a comment that was taken in that way,” he said to the Oakland Post, which reported that he pointed-out that “he is from the community and has had to experience unfair policing practices while growing up.” Armstrong said “The chief and I have been very committed to doing everything we can to reduce these disparity numbers. We are making far fewer stops than we were making even a year ago.”
Deputy Chief Armstrong Is Perfect For A Complex Job: Oakland Chief Of Police
Look, we’re not going to find the perfect Oakland Police Chief, because our idea of perfection is, in itself, not perfect. The Oakland Police Chief can’t change our socio-economy to improve the economic welfare of those in need, and if he could, it would be by a policy design outside of his power to make. We need someone who provides a bridge between the rank-and-file Oakland cops and the elected officials and Oakland’s residents. Deputy Chief Armstrong is that person. From delivering a teddy bear and well wishes to a 3-year-old shooting victim at Children’s Hospital, to meeting with Oakland Police Commissioners, and even talking with this vlogger about The Force movie, LeRonne is Oakland. He’s us.
Here’s his bio on the website for Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority:
Deputy Chief LeRonne Armstrong joined the Oakland Police Department in 1999, after spending four years with the Alameda County Probation Department. DC Armstrong commands BFO Two (East Oakland), which comprises: Neighborhood Services Section – BFO 2 (Beats 23 – 35), Area 4, Area 5, Support Operations Division.
DC Armstrong has had several assignments during his career, starting in Patrol as an officer and later as a supervisor. He has worked in the Problem Solving Officer Unit and in the Criminal Investigation Division; supervised the Gang Intelligence Task Force, served as Watch Commander, and Commander of the Youth and School Safety Section. He is also a POST-certified instructor, currently teaching agency-wide classes in Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy. DC Armstrong is one of the original officers assigned to work on the Ceasefire Strategy in 2006, and he continues to work on that initiative.
An Oakland native, DC Armstrong has been the subject of multiple news articles and is currently President of the Oakland Black Officers Association. He is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, and a graduate of the Modesto POST Leadership School.
I think it’s time to let a native Oaklander take charge of the Oakland Police Department. It’s time for Deputy Chief LeRonne Armstrong to be Oakland Police Chief.
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