Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio (center) is taking command of the police department during a nationwide search. (Francesca Segre/KQED)
Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio (center) is taking command of the police department during a nationwide search. (Francesca Segre/KQED)

Shortly before a scheduled press conference in which high-profile Oakland policing consultant William Bratton was set to announce a new crime reduction plan, city Police Chief Howard Jordan announced he will retire from the force for medical reasons.

Assistant Police Chief Anthony Toribio will take command of the department during the nationwide search for a new police chief, Mayor Jean Quan announced late Wednesday afternoon.

“These are very hard jobs,” Quan said. “I hope you can hear my true affection for the Chief.”

Below is Jordan’s statement:

It Has Been a Honor to Serve Oakland

This morning I advised City Administrator Deanna Santana that, effective immediately, I am on medical leave and taking steps toward medical retirement. This decision has been difficult, but necessary. Through my 24 years of wearing an OPD badge and uniform, I have emulated the Department’s core values: Honesty, Respect, and Integrity – values I observed in the men and women who worked with me and for me. I know that the members and civilian staff of the Department will carry on these values to generations to come.


It has been an honor to serve the City of Oakland.

Howard A. Jordan
Chief of Police
Oakland Police Department

Bratton’s press conference was canceled, by the way.

“He must be under a tremendous amount of pressure and a lot of stress because of all the things that are happening,” said Jordan’s friend, Bishop Bob Jackson of the Acts Full Gospel Church of God in Christ. “And probably more stressful than anything else he probably can’t do what he would like do to as a Police Chief because he has so many Chiefs over him. It’s just really impossible for him to do the job I believe he was really trying to do.”

File photo, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan spoke at a press conference. (Mina Kim/KQED)
File photo, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan spoke at a press conference. (Mina Kim/KQED)

Jordan, a 24-year veteran of the department, was named interim police chief in October 2011 after former chief Anthony Batts resigned. In February 2012, Mayor Jean Quan named Jordan as permanent chief. His tenure, like that of his predecessor, was marked by attempts to wrestle with a troubled department that was heavily criticized for its use of force during Occupy Oakland protests and also for its failure to come into compliance with all of the reform measures mandated by a negotiated 2003 settlement stemming from the Riders police misconduct case.

In December 2012, under pressure from a federal judge who was growing increasingly impatient at the slow pace of compliance and who was threatening to put OPD under an unprecedented federal receivership, Oakland agreed to submit the department to the authority of a compliance director. Under that agreement, Oakland pays the director’s salary, although he answers directly to Judge Thelton Henderson.

In January, the department hired William Bratton as a policing consultant. The former police chief of New York City and Los Angeles has been widely credited with reducing crime in those cities by using a data-driven approach to law enforcement and also by implementing controversial stop-and-frisk programs. Bratton was scheduled to announce a crime reduction plan today when Jordan made his announcement.

“It’s just hard for me to imagine the man trying to do a job, that he is hired to do with so many people telling him what he ought to be doing,” said Jackson.

Howard Jordan Timeline

May 8, 2013 Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan announces he is retiring for medical reasons.

May 1, 2013 An independent monitor says the Oakland Police Department is making a “slight improvement” in meeting reforms that were mandated in the settlement of a police brutality lawsuit a decade ago.

March 5, 2013 Thomas Frazier, appointed to oversee the Oakland police by a federal judge on Monday, has a reputation as an innovator not afraid to shatter police department traditions. Frazier is taking on a job that previous chiefs could not, or would not, do: bring the department into harmony with diverse, leftist and anti-authoritarian factions in the community. And he must do so at a time of tight budgets and spiraling crime.

March 6, 2013 Bummed out by rising crime, Oakland residents are turning their thumbs down on their city’s prospects, according to a new opinion poll. Sixty-five percent say the town is headed in the wrong direction…

Jan. 23, 2013 Former New York City and Los Angeles police chief William Bratton is coming to Oakland as a consultant to the city’s struggling police department.

Jan. 16, 2013 Oakland police retreat from Jordan’s statement that almost all violent crime in the city in recent months is linked to a war between two groups that exploded after the killing of a 16-year-old girl last summer.

Jan. 15, 2013 City leaders reject calls to declare a state of emergency over a surge in violent crime they say is being driven by two warring criminal gangs.

Dec. 6, 2012 In an unprecedented deal, Oakland agrees to submit the police department to the authority of a new compliance director. While the city will pay the director’s salary, the director will answer to U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson, as the result of an agreement with plaintiffs in a civil rights lawsuit against the city.

Oct. 12, 2012 Two police officers should be fired and another 42 officers disciplined for misconduct during the Occupy Oakland protests that turned violent late last year and in January, city leaders said.

July 19, 2012 Crime is falling nationwide, but not so in Oakland. Violent crime in the city is up about 20 percent over last year to date.

June 22, 2012 Oakland officials are acknowledging that Mayor Jean Quan’s “one-hundred block” crime-fighting plan miscalculated where most violent crime in the city takes place. Quan has been saying that 90 percent of the crime in Oakland takes place in 100 blocks, and that the city is focusing police and other city services on those blocks.

May 1, 2012 The Oakland Museum of California posts an online video exhibit on the Occupy movement. “Portraits from the Occupation” is a series of 16 interviews with individuals involved with or impacted by Occupy Oakland.

Feb. 1, 2012 Oakland city officials name interim police Chief Howard Jordan to head the Oakland Police Department on a permanent basis.

Oct. 28, 2011 Oakland interim Police Chief Howard Jordan says that to his knowledge, no Oakland police officer used rubber bullets, wooden dowels or flash-bang grenades in a violent predawn raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment and during a series of clashes with protesters.

Oct. 27, 2011 Mayor Jean Quan and interim Police Chief Howard Jordan hold a press conference to address the use of force against Occupy Oakland protesters by Oakland police and other agencies. One protester, an Iraqi war vet named Scott Olson, sustained a skull fracture during the clashes.

Oct. 13, 2011 Oakland Mayor Jean Quan announces that Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan will serve as acting police chief for the city following the surprise resignation of Police Chief Anthony Batts, who held the position for just over two years.


Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan Announces Medical Retirement (Timeline) 8 May,2013KQED News Staff

  • OaklandBikeMedic

    You forgot the part where Chief Jordan installed an email filter to block any emails referring to police brutality.

    Good riddance, jerk. But good job filling the role of fall guy for that one time, when Oakland blew five schools’ budgets gassing dissidents.

  • But I thought Jean loved to have “The Yes Man” with her. but I guess seeing the crime rate statistics lately. Time for the witch to blame some one else. (again). No use Jean, You and your whole city is a dump! Only way to try and help is allowing William Bratton
    to do his job. And allow Him to call the shots. And YES! stop-and-frisk ! If He ‘s not allowed to run it the way he wants. If I was him I would tell the Mayor to take a hike. And I would walk away. Let Oakland burn! Everyone knows it’s in Jean’s hands. What’s she going to do?

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