OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — A pair of meetings hosted by the Oakland Police Commission Saturday allowed residents a chance to sound off on what qualities they want in the city’s next top cop. The Oakland Police Department has been without a permanent police chief since February when Mayor Sheng Thao fired former Chief LeRonne Armstong.

Four questions drove the Oakland Police Commission’s community engagement meetings in Oakland on Saturday — a chance for residents to play a part in selecting the next police chief.

“We’re not gonna solve this with just the police alone,” said former councilmember Wilson Riles. “We need someone who can communicate with other parts of the city and with the community as a whole.”

During morning and afternoon sessions at the Golden Gate and Cesar Chavez branches of the Oakland Public Library, residents were asked what should be the highest priorities for the next police chief.

They looked into qualities such as what characteristics, background and experiences that person should possess and what elements of the next leader’s track record will suggest they are fit for the job.

“I think, when we have a chief who at least lives in the community, if he’s not born and raised, will be of some substance,” said Oakland resident Assata Olugbala.

Last month, the police commission, which oversees the police department, hired a consulting firm to help search for the next chief. The commission says it will use the community’s feedback to determine a list of finalists for the job which the agency plans to present to Thao by November.

Top priority should be the youth in this community, because we have a lot of youth that are committing crimes,” Oakland resident Thomas Leach said.

Thao fired Armstrong in February for mishandling police misconduct investigations. Interim Chief Darren Allison has been leading the department since. Commission Vice Chair David Jordan says these meetings are valuable.

“Where we get the most interesting information from these sort of situations is when we see the outliers — the anomolies,” Jordan said. “The things that we didn’t consider. And, those often come from the individuals — not the groups that have formalized talking points.”

Coming up, the commission will host a virtual meeting Wednesday night — followed by two in-person engagements next Saturday morning and afternoon. The first at the 81st Avenue branch of the public library, and the last wa at the West Oakland branch.