OUSD police chief leaves district

OUSD Police Chief Art Michel is leaving his post, and I think today Thursday is his last day. I wouldn’t have known about it, had it not been for the farewell salutes that went out over the police radio this afternoon. Michel (pronounced Mitchell), a retired OPD sergeant, has led the resurrected OUSD police force since January 2008.

I’m told the chief is leaving because of compensation issues — he came out of retirement to head the school police force and was likely receiving retirement benefits — and not necessarily because of a controversy last fall in which he detained Tribune photographer/videographer Jane Tyska during a student protest. (I called him this afternoon. Let’s just say he didn’t want to talk about his departure, or anything else.)

I understand. Despite his long career, Michel might be remembered for this:

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Nextset

    Not Necessarily….

    Well that’s how the cookie crumbles. Happy 2nd retirement.

    Now OUSD has to find another chief. That’ll be interesting. Maybe they will find a black or other minority woman – or some candidate that gets them as far as they can from previous.

    I can’t remember exactly what I posted about that video when this story was first blogged. I think it’s an unfortunate way to be remembered on that job. Too bad for him.

    But before anybody throws stones – do you want to be police chief at OUSD? Would you become rather short tempered after holding down that position for the last two years?

    Katy: Can you please post the job announcement or job description and requirements for this position? Any discussion about the performance of this Chief and an appointment of a replacement Chief should start with the stated qualification of such an office holder.

  • Nancy

    It wouldn’t be the first time someone has had to leave the force…


  • Max Allstadt

    The people of Oakland are the clients of the police. We pay them. They serve us.

    If I took my cues on how to act towards clients from Art Michel, I’d be fired. He should have been canned. No inquiry, no nothing. Just a golden handshake. Not OK.

  • Fred

    Nextset, you are an amazing person. Of course you will assume immediatly that the woman in the video did nothing wrong based on the fact that the police officer was in fact a police officer, but mostly, because he was a white police officer.

    I offer a piece of advice…Considering hiring the most qualified for the job. Sugesting that the next chief be either Black or a minority woman makes you both a racist and sexist. I guess a white man or woman need not apply?


  • Anonymous

    Mr. Michel was not an appropriate hire for the OUSD police department. After meeting with him to discuss employee safety concerns, my colleagues and I were left bewildered by his presentation and unconvinced of his assurances. This video is a frightening realization of an incapable and dangerous person empowered by the authority of law regardless of his sex and race. I for one, feel safer with him gone.

  • Nextset


    Get real. Hiring a Police Chief is a political act. The OUSD Board will hire first and foremost the candidate that works best with them. Have you seen the OUSD board lately?

    “Most qualified for the job” is a propaganda statement meant to fool silly people who don’t understand public policy.

    OUSD board will find a replacement that they can work with and have confidence in and that person will look nothing like the candidate that would be hired by Piedmont Unified or San Jose Unified or Los Angeles Unified.

    Management jobs are political appointments, people… Deal with it.

  • Leah Taylor

    I would like to speak to someone about a OUSD cop stopping my son who was no where near a school, searched him, his vehicle and stole-yes I said STOLE his wallet containing 340.00. His name is John Belusa and I am CERTAIN this cop has ,done this sort of thing before. We are demanding answers. My son is 19 1/2 and has been working since 17 at the same job. This cop gave no ticket because he can give the ticket and keep the money too…scandalous!

  • Nextset

    Leah: In CA Peace Officers have statewide authority. It doesn’t matter where in CA a CA officer stopped your son. Berkeley Police can serve search warrants in Los Angeles. LA Unified Police can make arrests in Oakland. The place within CA just doesn’t make a difference. You are wasting your time and ours bemoaning the location.

    So let’s get to the more interesting part of your complaint. Was money or something else taken? If so, was there a reason stated & was your son even given a receipt for what was taken? If there was, why didn’t you mention that in the first place?

    It doesn’t matter that your son has been working at the same job. Good for him if he’s employed but not relevant here.

    The typical reason for confiscation of money – if that’s what happened – is that the money is evidence of a crime or it appears to be contraband. Since I live in the real world I can tell you that in my experience Cops usually have a reason for what they do that mothers are unable and unwilling to see or acknowledge. Tell us more about this if you want – or don’t.

    I’d normally be interested in knowing what time of day the encounter happened, the vehicle & it’s occupants, the stated reason for the stop. You are carefully not giving these things while telling us about the son’s age, job, the amount of the money, the fact that it wasn’t near a school – all the unimportant stuff that is used as filler to hide the real story.

    If you are writing in order to get quick pity it doesn’t work that way. Police Officers normally do the right thing and normally clash with people who need looking in on. There’s always an exception, let’s see if this sounds like one. So far it doesn’t.

  • Nextset

    Leah, I don’t want to make you feel any worse but I have repeatedly dealt with family and friends who work themselves up into physical distress because of some perceived improper search and seizure when the action was not only proper but commendable on the part of the police services. Even worse, their friend or relative has the nerve to encourage the emotional upset or beg for rescue (they do that all the time) when they know perfectly well the police are doing right. Then the family members post the bail or interfere with the police to their own detriment.

    The usual is people who know they are searchable due to probation/parole/OR conditions moving into a fool’s place, bringing in the drugs/stolen property and then acting innocent when the warrantless searches occur and the foolish roomie gets arrested also. Ditto when the searchable person rides in/drives the fool’s car and they get stopped and searched. Hopefully this isn’t the case here, but some people are born searchable and are going to die searchable. The first words out of everybody’s mouths are “they didn’t have a warrant” and some fool of a relative gets hysterical for them.

    Hopefully that problem isn’t here, but it’s a daily thing sometimes…

    I see people while I’m going home from work driving down the street with the radio loud, cracked windshied, objects hanging from the rearview mirror, with broken taillights and expired registration on their cellphones. And usually there is not a cop in sight.

    If you weren’t there and the son is 19 1/2, stop being so ready to fight a grown man’s battles for him. Otherwise he will never grow up. Send him to a lawyer for a consult and let him pay for it. Chip in half at the most or better yet tell him to go see legal aid. Consultations are cheap enough. He will never tell you what really happened, you’re his mother. Tell him to stay out of trouble and not to expect you to bail him out when he gets himself in trouble.