Firebrand Anne Kirkpatrick Hired As Oakland Police Chief

The City of Oakland has hired a tough-as-nails reformer to oversee its troubled police department. After six months of civilian control, Anne Kirkpatrick has finally been named Chief of Police. Her official start date is Feb. 27.

“Anne Kirkpatrick is the reform-minded leader that Oakland has been searing for,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said Wednesday. She is also the city’s first female police chief—an appropriate choice given the ‘frat house’ antics that have plagued the force as of late.

Who Is Anne Kirkpatrick?

The first thing you might notice about Kirkpatrick is her distinctive Southern drawl. That’s because she was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Her law enforcement career began there in 1982 when she became an officer for the Memphis Police Department.

Kirkpatrick later attended law school and moved to the State of Washington, where she served as Chief of Police for three different cities. She then became an FBI instructor and a bureau chief at the Chicago Police Department, implementing reforms in the wake of the shooting of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald. Her no nonsense reputation and heavy-handed approach toward officer discipline has earned her both respect and disdain in law enforcement circles.

A Tall Order 

Oakland’s Police Department is an utter mess. It has been under the watchful eye of the federal government for the past 13 years and is currently mired in a wide-ranging sex scandal. Its multiple controversies have either ensnared or scared off a revolving door of police chiefs over the years. In fact, Kirkpatrick will be the fourth person to hold the position since June.


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