- Guyanese rises to become Oakland’s Chief of Police
Profile: Chief Howard A. Jordan is a veteran of the Oakland Police Department, having served for more than 23 years in a range of assignments including patrol, investigations, internal affairs and administration. He has held every rank in the department during his tenure, from officer to Interim Chief of Police.
Born in Georgetown, Guyana, and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., by a single mother with a powerful work ethic, Chief Jordan savors Oakland’s mélange of peoples and cultures, and is proud of the fact that the Oakland Police Department is the most diverse in the Bay Area.
While serving as Interim Chief of Police, Jordan saw the Department through the most painful day in its history, March 21, 2009, when four officers were gunned down in less than three hours. His leadership during that traumatic time served the City and the Department well.
Using what he learned in dealing with that calamity, Chief Jordan reached out nationwide to share insights and lessons learned with other departments experiencing similar tragedies. For example, when three officers were murdered in an ambush in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he contacted that department and its chief to offer his support.
A consensus builder who motivates others towards better performance, Chief Jordan supports the changes prescribed by the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, seeing them as an opportunity to enhance the Department’s ability to protect the lives, rights, dignity and property of the community it serves. He helped develop the OPD Strategic Plan, which defines the Department’s goals, mission, and values. His goal has always been to forge a stronger Department and healthier community.
Working to develop a community policing partnership with residents of Oakland, Chief Jordan has built relationships with non-profits and city officials to help at-risk youth and adults. One such effort is the “call-in” program. This proactive, Oakland-centric effort identifies potential troublemakers on probation or parole and uses a “carrot and stick” approach to encourage them to straighten out or be held accountable by the criminal justice system – before they re-offend.
Chief Jordan has a Master in Public Administration degree from Cal State, East Bay. He is a graduate of the 219th FBI National Academy and the Police Executive Research Forum’s Senior Management Institute in Policing. He is a member of the California Police Chiefs Association (which appointed him to the Attorney General’s Task Force to Address Human Trafficking in California) and the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). He also served as president of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement.
An “average dad on the sidelines,” Chief Jordan has managed and coached youth soccer and baseball teams in Contra Costa County for many years. He is happily married and the proud father of two daughters.