According to sources, the City of Oakley has began its search for a new police chief as Chief Eric Christensen will no longer be with the department.
While it is unclear if this was a “retirement” or if he was “let go” and what the timeline is for the remainder of his employment, multiple sources say an argument within the city managers office led to the change–which could have led to a mutual separation.
It is unclear just what has led to the sudden change in command, however, it appears the city will try and sell this as a retirement when that was not the case due to antics in the City Managers Office.
In 2018, Christensen replaced Chief Chris Thorsen who retired after 32-years of service. For Christensen, he spent 27-years with the Contra Costa County Sheriffs Office before being hired as police chief for the City of Oakley.
It is anticipated that the City of Oakley will release more information later this week.
Shortly after posting this story, the City of Oakley announced the following in a press release:
Oakley Police Chief Eric Christensen to Retire
Oakley Police Chief Eric Christensen is retiring as of June 30th after nearly 30 years of dedicated law enforcement service. Christensen’s enthusiasm, energy, passion for public service, and community approach to law enforcement will be greatly missed as he enters his well‐deserved retirement.
Christensen has said that he dreamed of being a police officer since he was in fifth grade when his teacher, Sam Swafford, was a reserve officer with the Fremont Police. Christensen said Swafford became his idol and he knew he wanted a future in law enforcement.
After graduating high school, Christensen joined the Army and became a military police officer. He later earned a degree in Criminal Justice and was first hired as a police officer with the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office in 1991.
Before coming to OPD most recently, Christensen previously worked as part of the Sheriff’s Office when police services were contracted. Christensen joined the OPD as a Captain in 2018 and was named Chief later that same year after previous Chief Chris Thorsen retired. Immediately prior to coming back to Oakley, Christensen was Chief of Police in Lafayette. Under Christensen’s guidance, the Oakley Police Department shot up the ranks of “Safest Cities in California,” mostly recently breaking into the top 20 as 16th Safest City out of more than 200 cities( and ahead of all other East County areas) as determined by Safewise, an independent security solutions review organization.
Mayor Kevin Romick added, “Chief Christensen’s community outreach efforts are to be commended, adding a new and very positive element to our community‐oriented policing activities.” The Oakley community will miss Christensen – not only for his success in keeping the City safe, but for his personality, warmth, and exuberance for his job.
“Chief Christensen will be remembered fondly for his intensity and passion for the profession. He put in many long hours to serve us as Oakley residents and provided great strength to the operational policies and processes of the Department,” said City Manager Bryan Montgomery. “Eric has been a tremendous asset to Oakley and was always seeking ways to better serve the citizens of the City.”
“I am very appreciative for the opportunity to serve as Oakley’s Police Chief. It has truly been an honor to do so,” said Christensen. “Over the past few years, I have done my best to help move the Department forward. Itʹs now time to hand the football off to another player to keep it moving forward. During the last few months of this health care crisis, weʹve all spent a little more time thinking about what is important to each of us. While it has stressed our interactions with each other, it has hopefully strengthened our bonds at home.”
Christensen says he’ll miss his work and colleagues, but knows the residents of Oakley will be in good hands with OPD.
“The dedication, bravery, and hard work of the men and women who serve in the Oakley Police Department can’t be topped. The citizens of Oakley deserve nothing but the best, and I tried to give them that every day and I truly believe they will continue to get the best from this department going forward.”