Ex-Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent Hired by Elite Law Enforcement Leadership Training Institute


Sean Whent.
  • Sean Whent.
Former Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent — who was forced out of OPD during the department's 2016 sex abuse scandal — has a new job with the elite FBI-Law Enforcement Executive Development Association, a nonprofit group that trains police leaders throughout the nation. Whent is one of two-dozen instructors with the group.

Whent was hired in August of last year, according to his LinkedIn page.

Among its many courses, FBI-LEEDA trains police chiefs and other law enforcement leaders in the skills needed to run a department. For example, on its website the group advertises courses in leadership integrity, media and public relations, and internal affairs investigations.

Whent was Oakland's police chief from 2013 to 2016. Under his watch, OPD saw a decline in use of force by its officers. The department also made progress in fulfilling requirements of its federal court oversight program. Whent had risen through OPD's ranks from patrol to running the internal affairs division over a 22-year term. He also earned a master's degree in criminology from UC Irvine while working at OPD.

But 2016's sex exploitation scandal derailed Whent's career. Thelton Henderson, the federal judge overseeing the department at the time, found that the internal affairs investigation of an officer's suicide in 2015,and allegations the deceased officer and as many as 13 other Oakland cops had sexually exploited a teenager known as Celeste Guap, had been seriously mishandled.

A subsequent report by an outside attorney working for Henderson concluded that Whent had set a tone that the internal affairs investigation wasn't a priority, resulting in the case being closed.

Whent left the department on June 9, 2016 in a late night email sent to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. Sources close to the department said at the time that Whent was forced to leave by OPD's Indepenent Monitor Robert Warshaw, who works for the federal court.

After OPD, Whent applied for other jobs, including police chief of Salinas and a job in Emeryville, before being hired by FBI-LEEDA.