OAKLAND — The chief of Oakland’s embattled police department said Wednesday that he is stepping down due to medical reasons.
Chief Howard Jordan said that he told City Administrator Deanna Santana that effective immediately he is on medical leave and is taking steps toward medical retirement. He did not specify his medical condition.
Jordan’s announcement came moments before a scheduled news conference where consultant and former New York and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton was to present a plan on how Oakland could reduce crime.
City officials quickly cancelled the event.
Jordan said the decision was difficult, but necessary. He has served as chief for less than two years after two stints as interim chief.
“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,” Jordan said. “I know that the members and civilian staff of the Department will carry on these values to generations to come.”
He was named chief in October 2011 after then-chief Anthony Batts resigned. He led the department during Occupy protests during which police tactics were criticized.
The department has also struggled with rising crime and staff shortages that have required it to get help from the California Highway Patrol during Jordan’s watch.
Jordan was also in charge when a federal judge recently appointed an independent monitor to oversee the department.