SAN FRANCISCO – Oakland's police chief, facing criticism over chronic violent crime and turmoil in the department, resigned as city leaders prepared to call for a vote of no-confidence.
At a hastily scheduled news conference, Police Chief Wayne Tucker said Tuesday he has "lost faith" in the City Council and accused members of failing to provide enough funding to help fight crime for the 803 officers in the force.
"I feel they have given lip service to their commitment to public safety in this city," said Tucker, who plans to step down on Feb. 28. "I have not been fired. I have not been asked to resign. I make this in the best interest for this city."
Council President Jane Brunner disputed Tucker's charge that the council did not provide enough funding for the department. She said Tucker lacked a clear vision for solving crime in Oakland and a number of bigger cities have lower crime rates than Oakland.
"We need a chief who is bringing in the best practices from around the country," Brunner said. "We need more of a hands-on chief who has been trained in urban policing and has been successful doing it."
Reported crimes in Oakland dropped about 3 percent last year, but violent crimes, such as aggravated assault, attempted robbery and attempted rape, increased, according to police data. The number of homicides went from 127 in 2007 to 125 last year.
Tucker, who previously worked for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, took the job of interim police chief for Oakland in February 2005 and was sworn in as chief six months later.
The resignation comes amid criticism of the department and unsettling violence in the city across the bay from San Francisco.
The FBI is currently looking into "specific allegations" involving the department, agency spokesman Joe Schadler said Tuesday, declining to elaborate. Oakland police said in a statement that a commander is on paid leave in connection with the FBI's investigation into an incident in 2000.
Earlier this month, the city said it planned to fire 11 officers for allegedly lying to obtain search warrants in drug cases.
In November, Mayor Ron Dellums asked state Attorney General Jerry Brown — the former mayor of Oakland — to conduct an independent probe into the police investigation of slain Oakland newspaper editor Chauncey Bailey. Newspaper reports alleged the lead detective working on the case ignored important evidence.
"We made mistakes on that case and we continue to make mistakes on many of the investigations we do," Tucker said without singling out the officer. "That is going to continue until we are able to have some rational funding stream, or a rational look at how investigations are going to be done in the city of Oakland."