Mayor Ron Dellums has hired a national headhunting firm to find Oakland's next police chief, according to the Trib. The firm, headed up by police management expert Bob Wasserman (no relation to Fremont's mayor and former police chief), plans to recruit candidates from around the country. But there is one good choice from right here in the Bay Area Ron Davis, East Palo Alto's police chief. Davis is a former Oakland police captain, who ran the East Oakland district with significant success in the late 1990s, before former Chief Richard Word dismantled geographic policing under pressure from Jerry Brown. Davis is a smart cop who knows Oakland well, and is a believer in geographic policing and the importance of solving crimes. Plus, he has experience running a police department in a city with steep divisions of wealth like Oakland. He would be a good choice.
For more possible candidates, check out the Trib story. But for our money, none of them stacks up against Ron Davis. The mayor, Wasserman, City Administrator Dan Lindheim, and Councilman Larry Reid also all agree that the new police chief should get a three to four-year contract, because no good candidate is going to want the job, knowing that they could be replaced in 18 months by a new mayor. That makes sense, but the city had better pick the right person, because it won't be fair to burden the next mayor with a police chief who can't get the job done.