Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Wrong Choice for Oakland's Next Chief

By Robert Gammon
Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 9:55 AM

It looks like Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan will take over as interim police chief on Sunday after Chief Wayne Tucker leaves office. We predicted it nearly three months ago, but let's hope Jordan's reign is short. Jordan is an accomplished cop who knows Oakland well, but his unwavering loyalty to everything OPD makes him the wrong choice to lead the department permanently. OPD needs fresh ideas, not a police chief who blindly defends incompetence -- or even corruption.

Jordan's absurd defense of Sgt. Derwin Longmire, the cop who badly screwed up the murder investigation of slain journalist Chauncey Bailey, is a prime example. After the Chauncey Bailey journalism project and the San Francisco Chronicle revealed how messed up Longmire's investigation was, Jordan put out an official department statement, maintaining that Longmire had done nothing wrong -- even though Longmire is under investigation by the department's internal affairs division, the state Attorney General's Office, and the FBI.

Jordan is also guilty of negligence. As head of the criminal investigations bureau, he kept Longmire as the lead detective on the Bailey murder case even though he knew that Longmire had an extreme conflict of interest. As the Chron first pointed out, Longmire had a longtime friendship with Your Black Muslim Bakery CEO Yusuf Bey IV, the likely mastermind of Bailey's murder. Jordan should have pulled Longmire off the case as soon as he learned that fact. His failure to do so makes him unfit to command the entire department.

Oh yeah, and Trib reporter Kelly Rayburn, who broke the news about Jordan's imminent promotion to interim chief, also reported that Tucker predicts a 10 percent drop in crime this year. Area command should help lower crime, and let's hope Tucker is right, but we'll believe it when we see it.

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