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Police chief candidates speak at public forum in Oakland

The Oakland Police Commission held a public forum Thursday at City Hall, introducing the latest group of candidates to become the city’s next police chief.

They participated virtually at Thursday night’s meeting, but some residents said they were walking away from the forum with more questions than answers.

Merlin Edwards, with the Oakland chapter of the NAACP, said he attended the public forum to get to know more about the four candidates selected by the police commission.

“There’s crime in downtown Oakland, in Chinatown, in West Oakland, in East Oakland. It’s just a huge amount of crime that’s taking place,” he said.

The list includes Louis Molina, who is currently the assistant deputy mayor for public safety for the city of New York. Other candidates are former Lubbock, Texas, police Chief Floyd Mitchell, Cincinnati’s Assistant Chief Lisa Davis and former San Leandro police Chief Abdul Pridgen.

The commission gave each candidate a chance to describe their first 100 days as Oakland police chief before asking more specific questions, such as the type of culture they would create as chief.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao decided not to attend Thursday night’s forum, saying the public forum unnecessarily put candidates at risk with their current employers. She added that several potential applicants declined to apply when they found out their names would be released publicly.

The commission said it will submit their picks Friday morning to the mayor, who will make the final decision on the next police chief.

Some in attendance appreciated the transparency Thursday night.

“It’s important the community have some input and they see exactly what is going on with the respect to the process,” said Cathy Leonard, president of the Coalition For Police Accountability

Others like Edwards were left a bit disappointed. He believes the candidates didn’t address the specific issues impacting Oakland.

“The crime rate is going up. What are you going to do to lower the crime rate? But I didn’t hear any of that,” he said.


Source: NBC Bay Area

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