Alameda Police Chief Michael Noonan

ALAMEDA | Police Chief Michael Noonan is retiring after 27 years at the department. Noonan leaves his post June 1, but stays on as a consultant until his replacement is named sometime later this year. Captain Paul Rolleri will become interim chief starting in June. Noonan, 51, has been police chief since 2010 when he was named interim.

“This is bittersweet,” said Mayor Marie Gilmore on Wednesday. “Chief Noonan has served our community well throughout his career.”

In a memo to City Manager John Russo, Noonan called himself the “luckiest employee in the City of Alameda because of the great people I work with.”

“Mike has been a stellar police chief by any standard,” Russo said in a statement. “It has been an honor to work with such a fine public servant. As much as I wish he’d stay, I am happy for Mike that he will get to travel and spend time with his family.”

With crime in Alameda extremely low, especially in contrast to soaring rates in neighboring Oakland, Noonan’s tenure as chief was without incident. However, the city’s public safety response to the 2011 Memorial Day drowning of Raymond Zack at Crown Beach sullied both the police and fire department’s image. Many Alamedans were later dismayed by the appearance of police and firefighters idly standing by while the mentally-disturbed man drowned himself in the shallow waters of the bay.

The outrage led Noonan and Fire Chief Mike D’Orazi to implement reforms in how public safety responds to water rescue operations, including a vow to foster better communication between the two agencies historically known for being less than cooperative.