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Richmond Hires Oakland Chief
June 30, 1999
Samuels leaves current post Friday, starts new job in August
Suzanne Espinosa Solis, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 30, 1999

Departing Oakland Police Chief Joseph Samuels Jr. has been hired as Richmond's new chief, it was announced early today.

Samuels, who lost his job in Oakland during a City Hall shakeup by Mayor Jerry Brown, begins his new job in the Contra Costa County city of 92,000 on August 2. He leaves his Oakland post Friday.

Samuels, who was Oakland's first African American police chief, will become the first black to head the Richmond department.

Richmond City Manager Isiah Turner made the announcement at about 12:40 a.m., just before the end of a City Council meeting.

Richmond's previous chief, William Landsdowne, left nine months ago to accept a job as chief of the San Jose Police Department.

The hiring of Samuels was welcome news to Richmond city leaders.

``I've asked a number of people around that know him and everybody says he's OK,'' said City Councilman Tom Butt. ``The city manager did a thorough background check. They were all glowing recommendations.''

Samuels was not present at the meeting.

Since Landsdowne's departure, Captain Ed Duncan has headed the department as interim chief.

``We welcome (Samuels) to the department,'' said police Lieutenant Bob Parrick. ``We're looking forward to working with him.''

In March, Samuels was given four months' notice by Brown following a dispute over how to reduce the city's crime.

Samuels, 49, joined the Oakland police department in 1974 after working as a bank branch manager. He worked up through the ranks but left in 1991 to become chief of the Fresno Police Department. He returned two years later to become chief of the Oakland force.

He is credited with beginning Oakland's community policing program and with promoting minorities to top-level positions in the department.

He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and a master's in public administration from California State University at Hayward.