The city of Oakley has announced that Dean Capelletti, the police chief placed on administrative leave in September, has been “separated from employment” as of Nov. 18.
“As this was a personnel matter, I cannot comment further about his separation,” City Manager Joshua McMurray said of the decision. “The City’s focus at this time is on searching for a new police chief who will uphold the City’s values and effectively lead the outstanding officers and employees who serve in the City Police Department.”
No official reason has been given for the termination of Capelletti’s employment nor for his placement on administrative leave earlier in the year. Mayor Sue Higgins echoed McMurray’s statement, saying the current focus is the search for a new police chief, while City Attorney Derek Cole said McMurray’s statement was the only comment that could be made regarding the situation.
Capelletti, an 18-year veteran of law enforcement, joined the Oakley police department in September 2020, having previously served as a captain of the La Habra Police Department in Southern California. A Bay Area native, Capelletti cited Oakley’s “Mayberry feel” as one of the main reasons he chose to return to the Bay Area during an interview with The Press shortly after taking the role.
However, by September of 2021, Capelletti had been placed on paid administrative leave following an undisclosed incident, and an investigation was conducted. At that time, both Cole and Higgins declined to provide further information on the matter due to the active investigation. Since then, no new information had been made available until the announcement that Capelletti would be removed from his position with the department.
While the city continues its search for its next police chief, the city has appointed Lt. Paul Beard to fill the role in the interim, according to Higgins.