What do you want to ask Chief Batts?

Monday night, I attended the Town Hall meeting with Oakland’s new Police Chief, Anthony Batts, at Prescott Elementary in West Oakland. It was okay.

I did enjoy listening to Batts speak, but everything else about the night was annoying. Before the Chief started talking, we had to listen to a long series of speeches about how great the Mayor is and a bunch of self-congratulatory nonsense about the Mayor’s task forces and how amazing they are. Personally, I think it’s kind of pathetic if three years into your term, the best accomplishment you can point to is something that nobody ever really cared about and that happened before you even started, but that’s just me.

The Mayor promised to give Batts a brief introduction, and then talked for like half an hour about how great he is, and how he’s been such a great Mayor, and great Oakland is doing, and so on and so on, to the point I made myself dizzy trying to get my head around how it is even possible for someone to be so completely disconnected with reality. Anyway. Eventually he got around to letting the Chief talk, but only after forcing everyone to sit through a stunningly boring litany of all the ways Oakland and Long Beach are similar (highlight: we both have an airport).

The Chief promised to keep his remarks short so there would be plenty of time for questions, and he totally did not do that at all, but nobody minded (well, some people probably did, but not me), because he is just such an engaging speaker. He didn’t say much about his plans for Oakland – it was all pretty general, stuff about his background and why he decided to come to Oakland. Apparently his remarks last night at the OPOA/UNCO event were a little more interesting, but since I wasn’t there, I’ll leave it for readers who were to share their impressions in the comments.

At the end of the Town Hall meeting on Monday, there was time for questions, but the whole thing was just impossibly poorly coordinated, and instead of hearing the Chief answer people’s questions, we listened to a series of people ramble at length about whatever their pet project is. In a few cases, the diatribes were punctuated with a half-hearted question (“Blah blah blah, me, blah blah blah, I’m so great, blah blah blah, this organization I work with is so great and everyone should come to their event next week, blah blah blah blah. And so, do you think we should have more police officers on the street?”), but mostly it was just people babbling at the room in general and the Chief didn’t really have an opportunity to say much in response. It was kind of disappointing. I ended up leaving early cause I was just so irritated.

Anyway, there will be two more Town Halls where you can hear the Chief talk – one on Monday from 6:30 to 8 at Cesar Chavez Educational Center (2825 International Boulevard) and another on Wednesday, November 18th, again from 6:30 to 8, at the Tassafaronga Recreation Center (975 85th Avenue). I’d advise showing up a little late so you don’t have to endure the Dellums campaign rally, and unless they restructure the way they do the Q&A, it’s probably not worth sitting through that part either, but I do recommend going just to watch Batts, who is extremely impressive.

But if you can’t make it to either of those (or if you can, but are still left curious afterwards), I have another opportunity for you.

The Oakland Tribune Editorial Board will be sitting down to talk to the Chief in a couple weeks. Naturally, we’re all bubbling over with our own questions, but what we really want is to make sure that our interview reflects what readers want to know. So we’re soliciting questions from the community.

Big picture stuff is welcome, but we’re also looking for questions based on your experiences in your own neighborhood. Just anything you want to know, basically. We’ll collect all the questions we receive, pick out the best ones, and ask as many as we have time for. You can send in your question via the contact form here, or just leave a comment on this post.

We’re really interested in what you want to know. So please, start firing away.

91 thoughts on “What do you want to ask Chief Batts?

  1. Karen S

    I was at two meet and greets, neither with Mayor Dellums, the first Wednesday at the Eastmont Substation, hosted by Larry Reid. Chief Batts is, as you say, an engaging speaker, and I liked him. A huge improvement over Tucker. I saw respect and teamspirit in the interactions between the chief, Asst. Chief Jordan, Captain Fig and officers. Wednesday’s crowd was mostly older, and there was a tenseness and irritability with longtime neighbors butting heads with a contingent of young people from Youth Uprising. At the OPOA, it went very well, NCPC people asked intelligent questions, including the concern about quality of life crimes. We were subjected to Perata’s speech, and at the end, OPOA president Don Arotzarena announced that the union was endorsing Perata, while Jean Quan was standing near the front. She skipped a beat, and then walked out., followed by staff and supporters. Heavy air pressure in the room. After thank yous were said for helping with the event, Jean came back and took the mike, announcing she was also running for mayor, and spoke for a short while. I was so relieved that calm heads had prevailed and she had the gumption to return and speak in front of the OPOA and Perata and everyone. I heard later that one contributor to the event expenses immediately asked OPOA to return the donation, as it was not intended for a political event.
    This is going to be a wild year.

  2. John Klein

    Here’s a e-mail I received from Nick Vigilante, chair of The Oakland Neighborhood Watch Steering Committee regarding Don Perata’s participation in the “Meet Batts” meeting last night, Nov 5, sponsored by the OPOA.

    “The Oakland Neighborhood Watch Steering Committee was not aware that the Oakland Police Officer’s Association (OPOA) had invited Mr. Perata to speak. For future events with the OPOA, I will get an agreement from them that there will be no politiking. Neighborhood Watch is a non-partisan organization, and as its Chairperson, I truly regret what happened.”

    My question to the new police chief is, “Why are you participating in a ‘traveling show’ with Mr. Perata?”

  3. livegreen

    My bet is the Chief had no idea either. After all, he’s not in the OPOA and will have to negotiate with them. I’m really surprised the OPOA & Perata took advantage of what was supposed to be an introduction to the Chief for NW & Block Captains and Q&A and made it into a political event for Perata. It at least should have been advertised as such.

    I think UNCO probably is disappointed too, but they’re involved in such infighting that they’ve essentially imploded.

    Welcome to Oakland Chief.

  4. Colin


    V, does this mean you’re on the Oakland Tribune’s editorial board now? Or are you just participating with them? I’m confused the the tense involved here. Either way, I do hope you’re involved directly in the questioning.

  5. Dave C.

    I watched the half-hour YouTube video of his press conference a week or two ago, and was similarly impressed. He is certainly saying the right things, at least from my point of view—that he wants to be available and accountable to the public and the press, that he wants cops to get out of their cars and actually interact with residents in the neighborhoods (and wants to do so himself by walking the streets, introducing himself to merchants and residents, going to schools, etc.), that he wants to come up with specific goals for the department and then be judged by how well those goals are met, and so on. An auspicious start, to be sure, but the proof will be in the pudding. Saying the right things and exuding competence is great, but if he can produce significant results, that will be even better.

    As for questions, I’d personally like to know his thoughts on foot patrol and whether he plans to implement any serious effort to get more cops walking beats. It’s one thing to have officers park their cars for 10 minutes while they stroll up and down a commercial block a single time, but it’s another thing for them to actually spend their time walking neighborhoods and actually preventing crime instead of just chasing 911 calls in patrol cars. I recommend this article about the virtues of foot patrol. I know it’s hard to cover a spread-out city like Oakland with an understaffed department, so increased foot and bike patrol might be tougher to implement here than in other cities, but surely it could be done more in denser neighborhoods around Downtown, the lake, Fruitvale, etc.

    Count me among those who were surprised to hear that you’re on the Trib’s editorial board, and a little confused by the way you slipped that interesting fact into this post without explicitly saying so. (Not complaining—just amused.)

  6. MarleenLee

    For Chief Batts: Measure Y was enacted in January, 2005 with the promise of 803 officers, including 57 problem solving officers and 6 crime reduction team officers. For nearly 5 years, the police force has been staffed at numbers dramatically lower than promised. Do you believe that full staffing is critical for improving public safety in Oakland, and what are you going to do to get the City to commit to implementing the staffing required under Measure Y?

  7. livegreen

    V, to your question:

    As a result of the Riders NSA, OPD has more detectives investigating incidents with OPD (800+ people) THAN INCIDENTS IN THE ENTIRE CITY OF OAKLAND (400,000+ people):

    Last I was told OPD Investigators are allocated as follows:
    32 in IA to investigate OPD; 12 in homicide, 8 for robberies; and 1 for all the burglaries in Oakland.

    The Affect is, according to a Tribune article earlier this year “Of the 124 homicide cases in 2008, 40 have been cleared.” and the majority are open. And Oakland has “13,000 open felony investigations, which could escalate to 30,000 by the end of the year.”

    Could the Chief:
    –Work to resolve the dispute between OPD & the City about placing Civilians in IA, -or- alternatively, outsourcing IA to qualified contractors;
    –Ask the Mediators of the Riders NSA for a temporary relaxation in the high #of IA Investigators both to help relieve the Citizens of Oakland and help him get started in his job.

    Thanks V.

    PS. In case the Chief asks: the City is not formally asking for relief , even temporary, from the NSA and the City Attorney is obligated to support the NSA as a co-signer, so he cannot represent the people of Oakland and ask for relief.

  8. Max Allstadt

    My question to Batts:

    Under the highways that carve up Oakland, we have chronic issues with drug-ridden homeless encampments that repeatedly re-establish themselves in the same locations. These encampments have a spillover impact on the surrounding area, including car burglaries, discarded heroin needles, and human waste on the street. Worse, the inhabitants of the encampments have a high incidence of violent crime against each other.

    Did Long Beach have these sorts of encampments? How does the Chief intend to deal with the jurisdictional issues arising from the fact that most of these problems happen on property owned by the State? Can these areas be patrolled by OPD? Is there a long-term solution? Or are we simply stuck with the status quo, where the police break up encampments, only to have them reform weeks later?

  9. Mike d'Ocla

    I also heard Batts speak last night at a meeting of Oakland’s Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils at the Oakland Police Officers’ Association.

    He is quite articulate and thoughtful. He certainly seems to have excellent leadership qualities–he is engaging, down-to-earth and frank. He spoke about doing new things, about taking risks and about having reasonable expectations given the very limited resources here.

    Leadership is especially important in Oakland where we have many well-intended and thoughtful public officials and far too few competent leaders. Many citizens, from all socio-economic groups and all sorts of political organizations, are poorly-informed and negatively prejudiced against the Police Department. Most citizens do not understand proven contemporary police theory and practice. Citizens do not understand how the Oakland Police Department works.

    Batts began his talk with a very important point: the Police Department is a fundamental economic development tool for Oakland. Unless this city can overcome its quality-of-life and crime problems, it’s unlikely to attract the new business it needs and deserves.

    Batts offered a new and creative approach to the sideshows: Police Department detectives are tracing the cellphone calls made by the phones confiscated from those arrested last week. Those who organized the sideshows by text messages potentially can be charged with homicide because of the deaths resulting from their behavior. Batts doesn’t know whether this will work or whether the D.A. will cooperate. If it doesn’t work, he’ll try something else new. This is known as problem-solving.

    It seems to me we may well have in Tony Batts the new Police Chief that we need. He talks the talk very well. He’s a real leader. Whether he walks the walk will probably depend less on what he says and does than on the support we provide as concerned citizens and members of political organizations.

  10. Mike Spencer

    Police presence in commercial districts seems somewhat scattershot. Why can’t the City assign a walking beat officer, say from noon to midnight, Wednesday through Saturday, in the 10 or so largest commercial districts?

  11. Claudia Cappio

    2 questions for Chief Batts:

    1) What measures will Chief Batts use to evaluate his performance and those of the PD during the first year under his leadership? Much has been made in the past of tracking certain crimes as indicators of improvements in public safety. Are those measures worthwhile or is there another set of metrics that he will be relying on? I am reminded of the discussion in The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell) re: crime stats in NYC during Giuliani’s first term – graffitti abatement, petty crime, cleaner streets? What actions and priorities will make the most impact and what are the best ways to track them?
    2) Chief Batts has been thrust into an amazingly complex political environment with lots of big relationships. To name just a few: Council, Mayor, citizens, Measure Y Committee, City Attorney, OPOA, Judge Henderson (re: Riders’ consent decree). The mayoral election will be in full swing within the next few months as well. For any mortal – just navigating these relationships (not even mentioning the internal department relationships the Chief needs to build) will be more than a full time job. So — what’s the plan to steer with a compass instead of looking at the weathervane? Who has priority for time and attention? Short of putting his calendar online – how will Oaklanders know what he’s up to in real time (other than community meetings – which have their place but also severe limitations on what can be presented).

  12. Karen Smulevitz

    MarleneLee, you may like that Chief Batts said 803 officers is nowhere near enough for Oakland, and we need twice that amount. Big cheer. He stressed his commitment to community policing, but I think he is not enamoured of Measure Y. He is used tocalling the shots, as he did in Long Beach with absolute authority over all operations. We should expect major restructuring, even though we just went through changes. To win this race, we’d better give him his lead.

  13. Patrick

    Now that I’ve enjoyed a couple-four martinis, here’s my question for Chief Batts: what the hell were you thinking when you decided to move to Oakland? It’s a fair question, because it is one I’ve often posed to myself, of late.

    The text message angle is brilliance. Everyone leaves a trail, whether they know it or not.

  14. lifeform

    At Jane Brunner’s October community meeting, not-yet-Chief Batts talked about a curfew for minors as a way to protect youth and curb crime. He was quite in favor. If I recall correctly, that was one measure taken by Long Beach. He was clearly unaware of Oakland’s history with curfew proposals. I would ask him if he’s been briefed on past attempts to institute a curfew in Oakland and if he still intends to push for a youth curfew.

  15. len raphael

    Batts should be comfortable with identity group politics (just learned that phrase tonight, seems i’ve been out touch with trends), but it will be amusing to see how he deals with the addition of bay area liberal progressive to the mix who want a kinder gentler police force that keeps larcenous poor people in check.

  16. Ralph

    I hope that he does not give up on the idea of a youth curfew. I would like to know why he the curfew has succeeded in other cities but it being met with much resistance in Oakland. What can be done to implement a curfew in Oakland.

    There is absolutely no good reason for why a 14 year old needs to be on the street at 1am.

  17. oakie

    Question 1: When are you going to stop beating your (ex)wife? Four times, apparently.

    Question 2: Long Beach sits right next to the city of Los Angeles, and specifically right next to some of the highest crime areas, like South Central. Under William Bratton, LA saw a decrease of about 20% in crime rates. You brag that you significantly reduced crime during your tenure in Long Beach. So what exactly did YOU do that caused crime to go down, other than to be the recipient of the benefits of lower crime cause by strategies implemented under the leadership of Bratton. Or maybe it was your strategies that caused LA to significantly to reduce their crime level, and Bratton is taking credit for your professional work.

    Question 3:
    As a police professional, I am sure that you are well acquainted with the strategies William Bratton used in NYC’s dramatic crime reduction miracle, and then applied in LA. Can you please explain what you believe to be the most important strategic philosophies that have PROVEN to work at reducing crime, and how you’ve used them in Long Beach and plan to do to Oakland.

  18. MEL

    oakie, crime has been decreasing in LA since around mid-90s which includes both former Chiefs’ Williams and Parks terms. The exception was a very slight uptick in 2002 – coincidentally the year Parks was up for a second term. Because of Parks’ support of policies unpopular with the union, and subsequent complaints of “lack of morale” from officers, Mayor Hahn appointed Bratton. Crime continued to decline under Bratton. He did bring great new practices to the department, but to credit him solely with LA’s crime drop is practicing a bit of selective memory. If anything, Angelenos should be thanking the federal government for their crime decline. LAPD has been under some form of federal (and citizen) oversight for almost 17 years.

    There have been numerous accounts of how SoCal law enforcement agencies have worked together over the past decade or so to reduce crime. They realized and acknowledged crime as a regional problem, so each agency – including county and the various municipal forces – did its part in crime reduction and provided information, support, and guidance to other agencies as needed and as legally possible.

    Just because LA’s force and geographic area was the largest doesn’t mean that all the other police chief’s sat around eating popcorn watching their crime rates fall for years while Bratton worked his magic (and if that was the case then you should be more concerned about Chief Gascon’s plans than Chief Batts’). The point of interagency cooperation and vested interest was that, for example, if Long Beach did not address its crime/gang problems, it would be harder for LA to address its problems as Long Beach crime would just keep spilling over into South LA and Harbor area. It was in everyone’s interest to see neighboring departments succeed, but each city and LA County had to do its part and was ultimately responsible for its own crime. Ergo, Bratton should have as much to “prove” in this regard as Batts.

    The more appropriate question would be how does Batts plan to engage the cooperation of other Bay Area departments and agencies, and foster the sense in the Bay Area that crime can or should be addressed as a regional problem.

  19. len raphael

    MEL, how does federal and civilian oversight in LA differ from our NSA version? the only people who seem to like our version are the attorneys on both side sides of the agreement, the federal judge (btw nice touch for Batts to pay homage at judge thelton’s SF institute yesterday) , and the cop union.


  20. livegreen

    Len, Why do you think the OPOA likes it?

    Yeah, I noticed the Chief went in to see Judge Henderson. I sure hope he was asking the Judge for a little flexibility with the # of Investigators, to help give him a chance to get things under control. Without more Investigators there’s simply no way to solve crime. The perps know it so they can go about business with impunity.

    V, if the Chief doesn’t tell you he asked the Judge for more Investigators, you might want to ask what he spoke to Judge H about?

  21. len raphael

    LG, i’m sure the cop union doesn’t want any federal monitoring, but given the choice between having civilians investigating cops, and cops investigating complaints against cops…

    plus filling out paperwork for NSA compliance might explain a large piece of the OPD overtime. have there been any estimates of that ?

    No Batts didn’t advance so quickly in long beach without having excellent political instincts. and wouldn’t waste his breath and brownie points questioning the judge’s wisdom. the impression i get is judge thelton lives in a bubble where he truly believes that his work is protecting the rights of oakland residents from a violent out of control police force and where the benefits of protecting the innocent far outweigh the costs of letting a lot of bad people do their stuff.

    But the time to have avoided the judge is long past. when it happened most oakland residents would have agreed with the judge. so can’t blame russo for caving either (didnt help that two of the Rider’s jumped bail before trial)

    kiss up to the judge and make the best of a bad deal

    -len raphael

  22. Mike d'Ocla

    “The more appropriate question would be how does Batts plan to engage the cooperation of other Bay Area departments and agencies, and foster the sense in the Bay Area that crime can or should be addressed as a regional problem.”

    This is a great point! Many parts of the Bay Area have lower crime rates than Oakland (and, say, Richmond) because of redlining and other discriminatory policies which have pushed disadvantaged socio-economic groups out of their areas into East Bay cities.

    I think particularly of the redevelopment/ethnic cleansing in San Francisco beginning in the Western Addition in the 1960s and ongoing. San Francisco could well afford to give Oakland tens of millions of dollars in compensation.

    And of course cooperation among Bay Area law enforcement agencies could bring many efficiencies. It makes sense but that alone suggests it is unlikely to happen without lots of political support.

  23. Livegreen

    Len, Sorry I don’t understand abt the cops in IA vs the civilians in IA,
    and how this makes the OPOA like the NSA. Please explain.

  24. MarleenLee

    I’m not an expert on the NSA but I do suspect that it is very inefficient to have OPD conducting IA investigations. I also think there is an inherent problem in having cops investigate cops in their own department. Not all cops are great IA investigators. I’ve worked with police departments where most IA investigations are contracted out to a retired police chief from another Bay Area department, and he charges around $78.00 an hour for his investigations. He’s very experienced, neutral, and a very good witness (which is necessary when the disciplinary hearing roles around). And he would not be considered a real “civilian” because he’s retired police. I hope Chief Batts looks into the possibility of increased flexibility in contracting out IA investigations to free up our police for other things.

  25. T

    I’d like to know if Chief Batts is considering the possibility of putting OPD officers on bikes, and not just in Downtown or Jack London Square, but also in regular neighborhoods. I live in East Oakland and I would appreciate the opportunity to get to know the officers on my beat better. The kind of face to face interaction with officers on bikes rather than in cars might, just might, make this possible.

  26. Carlos Plazola

    Chief Batts, given the resources you have and are likely to have for the next five years, what are your goals for reducing crime in Oakland in 1 year, 3, years, 5 years?

  27. len raphael

    LG, cops like other people in high stress situations have a bunker mentality that’s is exacerbated by our unique bay area saint/sinner psychizoid attitude towards cops. (but come to think of it, poor people of color might have a much more consistent view of cops) that no one can understand their job, evaluate the decisions they made unless the investigator has walked in their shoes. And there are technical procedures and technigues that have to mastered to do investigations properly.


  28. Livegreen

    Marleen, I think you should make this suggestion to the chief, or direct to Russo the next time you see him. It is timely as they’re working on this issue right now.
    I read that they’re at an impasse over replacing IA with Civilians because Mayor Dellums wants them to be based not in IA but at the Citizens Police Review Board:


    As for the NSA it dictates the # of Investigators in IA and the leftovers are for the City of Oakland. So the last figures I have (a few months ago) is 1 for ALL burlary in the Ciy. The affect: a member of our local NCPC was told by an Officer that OPD no longer investigates Property Crimes!

  29. Livegreen

    BTW, Just realized the post on the Oakbook is a few months old so I don’t know if they’ve resolved this impasse. I don’t think so though because the report from the NCPC was very recent.

    Also I agree with Len that having civilians investigate Officers withoutaw enforcement training, which takes officers years of school and in the field experience, would seem both inappropriate and inefficient.

    I like Marleen’ suggestion a lot better.

  30. MarleenLee

    How about asking Chief Batts: Is there any possibility of flexibility in the NSA that would allow OPD to rely on outside, but qualified investigators (e.g. retired high level police officers trained in IA) to handle many of the IA investigations in order to free up officers for regular police duty?

  31. len raphael

    Ml, must be a copy of the NSA posted on the city site? my understanding from asking around was that the NSA and the judge never specified that sworn officers perform as much of the compliance and investigation as they are doing. that was a staffing decision made by our officials.

    -len raphael

  32. livegreen

    NSA: To add detail, the NSA does not specify a high # of Investigators in IA. Instead it obliges OPD to perform IA investigations according to a set of timeliness standards that are then monitored for compliance by the NSA Monitors. If complaints against Officers increase the # of Investigators must also increase to keep with those timeliness standards (regardless of the impact of pulling Investigators off other investigations).

    When a person makes a complaint against an Officer that person must be brought to the Officer’s Supervisor or IA, OR the supervisor must be brought to the scene. This must be done within 3 hours, or if not by then a written explanation must be submitted with the reason for the delay.

    The Supervisor must then report the Complaint to IA the same day.

    The complaint process starts with an informal complaint resolution process. If at the end of that informal process the complaint is not resolved or, even if it is but the person making the complaint still wants to pursue it, they then institute a formal complaint process.

    Now this is only in reading the first 3 pages of the actual agreement, which are on pages 6, 7, & 8 of the NSA after the definitions and purposes. It goes on from there.

    I understand that there need to be standards to this process, and I also understand that the good part of the NSA is that standards were almost non-existent before. The problem I see is the timelines prevents Officers from effectively doing the rest of their jobs, investigating crimes committed against Oakland citizens, and therefor being effective deterring against additional crimes.

  33. livegreen

    Here’s a link to the NSA: http://www.oaklandpolice.com/agree/agreemen.pdf
    Happy Reading.

    Also, IA had always been manned by OPD Officers. Russo’s recommendation, not at the time of the NSA but well afterwards, was to have Citizens do the job. Personally I think they should have thought about this at the time of the agreement. But anyway, I just can’t see untrained citizens doing this detailed work unless they had years of training. It’s easy for Russo to recommend as he doesn’t have to deal with it (or any of this).

    Marleen’s idea about outsourcing is a good one, esp. as I had heard that from a fellow NCPC member who’s made this suggestion but nothing has come of it.

  34. len raphael

    LG, re Russo being a little late recommending civilianizing the complaint investigators, are you referring to his op ed piece this year?

    the issue isn’t whether big changes in opd were needed to protect the rights of residents, it is whether the NSA imprementation achieved that or mostly papered over the serious weaknesses in control and command, fiefdoms that protected cops like longmire, evidence tampering charges, etc. etc.

    Resulted in an even more expensive opd that got really good at filling reports in quadruplicate while crime and community relations worsened.

    There’s the unasked question as to whether it deterred good cops from good aggressive policing more than it deterred bad cops from abusing citizens. Not a question that I’d expect Judge Henderson to consider relevant, but Batts has to face it.

  35. Ralph

    I assume IA is Internal Affairs. Why would we have citizens do this job. This really should be the job of the OPD. If the citizens feel that OPD is not qualified to investigate OPD, then maybe the citizen should consider a combined stakeholder review panel. I really do not understand how untrained citizens are in the best position to review complaints. For them to be effective, they need to have the same training as detectives, so it makes sense for detectives to do the work.

    If detectives are doing a poor job investigating OPD, then the problem lies in the training given to all detectives. IA detectives should be some of your best investigators.

    Now back to my 72 page reading.

  36. livegreen

    Len, Yes that’s what I meant about Russo (was the Op-Ed this year or last? Maybe more than one). I agree on your other points, though they’re probably better at doing both.

    Ralph, Russo’s suggestion for civilian IA wasn’t because OPD wasn’t good at investigating. It was, if I recall correctly, in response to this same criticism that OPD didn’t have enough Investigators to solve all the crimes happening around Oakland. Pretty simple answer for a complicated question, esp. as he doesn’t have to train civilians from scratch. In also doesn’t address possible bias that might be found among citizens, either for or against OPD.

    Marleen’s suggestion solves all that…

  37. len raphael

    Isn’t there already a civilian review board with civilan investigators? Anyone know how well that works? Using cops to investigate cops, even if they’re retired out of district cops, doesn’t sound ideal. something about a thin blue line.

  38. Livegreen

    The only two ways I see written into the NSA to seek relief are on pages 54 & 56.
    P.53 (slide 59) Petitions for Relief, where it allows for a petition against any provision to be made, but unfortunately mandates that the provision be inconsistent with the agreement (in other words it can’t just be onerous, it must also be against the entire agreement. But then it never would have been put there to begin!)
    P.56 (slide 62) #4 The City & the plaintiffs may jointly stipulate…to make changes…
    This would require getting an OK from both Burris & Judge Henderson.
    Good luck!

    I wonder if Burris would entertain this? :) Not that we have any lawyers willing to help us speak to him anyway…

  39. Ralph

    Not that you guys are the official Oakland resident’s spokespeople, but why do the residents of Oakland think that it is a bad idea for IA to be staffed by police? This model works in a number of cities. Why would it not work in Oakland?

  40. livegreen

    Why do you think the residents of Oakland have an opinion one way or the other?
    I agree, it should be staffed by OPD. Besides Police Departments DO have a good reason to do a 1/2 way decent job in IA: they can get fired, their Chiefs especially, and esp. if their Political bosses are on the line.

    But my understanding again is that the only proposal that’s been made by Russo & the Politicians to get more investigators for crime in Oakland is too replace IA with civilians. Not my idea, it’s Russo’s.

  41. MarleenLee

    Nobody without significant police and/or legal background has any business conducting IA investigations. In order to understand what a police officer should and should not be doing, the person needs to be trained in the same manner and have years, if not decades of experience. For example, would an ordinary civilian be able to judge whether a doctor made a mistake? They wouldn’t have the faintest clue what the standards are. Police officers have to make life and death decisions, like doctors, and must be familiar with a lot of internal rules, POST standards (Police Officer Safety Training), Penal Code sections, Vehicle Code sections etc. They have to be able to listen to dispatch tapes, review reports etc. and understand them. Only somebody trained as a police officer would be competent to understand such documents or even “spot the issues” that could come up during an investigation.

    Ralph: The problem with having OPD conduct IA investigations is that there aren’t enough officers. Period. In terms of the issues that can come up with having true “internal” affairs departments (i.e. where somebody investigates their own colleague or boss) you need only refer to the Longmire investigation. How can the AG’s office determine that there were serious missteps, and OPD conclude no biggie?

  42. Ralph

    Re Longmire, I have read news reports that IA and the acting chief had misgivings about Longmire investigating Bey. That he only lost 5 days makes me think it wasn’t about the blue line.

  43. len raphael

    ML, the OPOA endorsed the wrong person for mayor. Will the new ballots take write in candidates :)

    even if OPD is understaffed, and even accepting your premise that only experienced cops or experienced attorneys can investigate civilian complaints, the number of IA investigators is disproportionally high relative to the population of this town.

    Unless the size of IA is due to the NSA mechanism combined with the unusually high proportion of residents filing complaints is causing IA to balloon. if that’s what’s happening, the more cops you add to the OPD, the more complaints, the bigger the IA and we won’t be able to staff crime investigations until Judge Thelton and Attorney Burris retire.

    btw, totally irrelevant, but curious how many of the original Riders plaintiffs died by violence or are currently in prison.

    -len raphael

  44. Helen

    How are you going to stay in budget? The current budget report shows that, as in the past, the largest budget overspending comes from the police. Given the current city budget situation, this can’t keep occurring.

  45. Robert

    Helen, The main reason that the PD overspends it budget is that it is understaffed and underbudgeted. If cc would increase the staffing to something more reasonable for a city the size of Oakland, the need for overtime would decrease dramatically.

  46. VivekB

    Chief Batts: What smell most reminds you of how you see Oakland in 5 years: Freshly mown grass, the air right after a spring rain, or peppermint bark candy mixed with a fireplace burning in December?

    Oh, and what specifically do you see as the role of community policing, what tasks would you like to see residents perform, and what information will you give the citizenry in order to help them do that function?

  47. Dave C.

    V, is this interview going to be videotaped or audiotaped and posted online, by any chance? Or a full transcript made available? I thought it was useful when the Chron and other papers put their candidate interviews online in 2007-2008—these editorial board interviews can sometimes be more substantive and candid than press conferences or town hall meetings, so it would be a valuable thing to be able to see/hear/read. (I know the Trib isn’t exactly an industry leader when it comes to its website, and some media folks are still overly attached to their role as gatekeepers, but maybe you could suggest this if it isn’t already planned.)

  48. LoveOakland

    Here are my proposed questions for the new Chief:

    1. Although Oakland has made significant progress in implementing the NSA, the department has failed to meet a number of the requirements. What steps are you taking to bring Oakland into compliance? In particular, what changes will you be making to flag problem officers early and either provide additional training, discipline or termination?

    2. The least expensive and quickest way to put more officers on the street is by civilianizing as many positions as possible in the department, including Internal Affairs, as a number of cities have already done. Even highly trained, experienced and skilled civillians cost less than officers for many tasks that can be done by civillians. What is your timeline on civilianizing many OPD functions to free up officers for street and investigative work?

    3. You have mentioned the need to dramatically increase the Police force. Given that in the last year the city has cut $87M in spending, reduced the non-sworn workforce (ie: library, parks) by 20%, and is now facing another $18M in cuts, how do you envision paying for additional officers?

  49. Barry K

    Robert (and Helen), the reason overtime was/is so high was previously disclosed and documented by the Alameda Grand Jury. Four years ago!
    Gentle readers, please see pages 39-45


    “The Grand Jury received a complaint from the Oakland city auditor
    alleging that the Oakland Police Department’s (OPD) overtime system was
    corrupt and that certain officers, principally members of the board of directors of
    the Oakland Police Officer’s Association (OPOA), were improperly benefiting
    from this corrupt system”

    While the Grand Jury found no evidence of misconduct, the lack of records
    retained by OPD to document how overtime shifts are assigned is alarming.
    OPD’s management information systems need immediate upgrading. OPD’s
    overtime policies and procedures need additional controls to prevent the
    appearance of favoritism in assigning overtime shifts. In particular, these
    controls must include retaining documents demonstrating how overtime is
    assigned to assure the system is not being manipulated.

    The Grand Jury urges future grand juries to continue monitoring these
    changes and improvements.

  50. Mike d'Ocla

    It saddens me to see so many people who are concerned about the public safety problems in Oakland who are also completely uninformed.

    The number of officers we have is important, but the number is not the problem. The problem is that the police department was made into a mess under Chief Wayne Tucker. Tucker was not a police officer, but a sheriff appointed by former Mayor Jerry Brown. Tucker did not know what he was doing, made many many mistakes. Oakland’s crime problems were not out of control until Chief Tucker. After Tucker, they’ve gone way out of control.

    Tucker threw out what had worked well in Oakland for many years, along with some things that did not work.

    Tucker mismanaged money and resources. And let crime escalate all out of proportion to Oakland’s socio-economic problems. If you look at the numbers, you will see that Oakland has more cops per population than San Jose with a much lower violent crime rate.

    Oakland government has a history of very poor leadership and ability to solve problems. Oakland likes to throw money and other resources (like manpower) at problems without figuring out first how the problems need to be solved.

    I hope that the new OPD Chief Tony Batts will have the ability to defuse all this uninformed concern about the number of cops. It’s a red herring.

    Anyone who wants to know some real facts about the Oakland Police Department can start by doing some reading at http://www.ronoz.com. There are 41 well-written essays there, posted beginning about 18 months ago, which cover in considerable depth the real reasons the OPD hasn’t worked in recent years. The writer, Ron Oznowitz, was an OPD officer, was the OPD Ombudsman, was a candidate for Oakland Public Safety Director, and was a candidate for Mayor running against Ron Dellums.

    You may not agree with Oznowitz, but if you read his essays you will at least have an idea about what the real police problems in Oakland are. And they are not about having enough resources. They are about using resources effectively and solving problems.

  51. MarleenLee

    Mike – Chief Batts is a veteran officer with loads of education and experience, and he disagrees with you. I heard him speak last night and his message was clear: OPD is WAAAAAAAAAY understaffed. He admitted that OPD has serious internal problems and is “broken” as well, but staffing is a main issue. Unfortunately, for the moment, he seems to be buying the excuse that the City is broke and unwilling to give him the resources he needs to actually make some significant changes. I’ll be writing a full post about my impressions of Batts over the weekend.

  52. Ralph

    I think the problem I have with the remark, “OPD is WAAAAAAAAAY understaffed,” is it is self-serving. If crime doesn’t go down, then the chief can always turn around and say he did not have the resources. Oakland residents seem to think that crime is out of control (I would not disagree). If you tell them that we need more cops, then the residents are happy to give you more money, which as Chief Batts will tell you has been mismanaged. So, tell me how you plan to get your house in order then and only then should we look at adding cops.

  53. MarleenLee

    The “waaaaaaaaaaay” was my language – I was paraphrasing. But go ahead and call me self-serving, given the bandwagon that I am driving. As for the statement, “the residents are happy to give you more money,” well that just ain’t true. I want more cops. I certainly am not happy to give more money. Only 55% of voters (shockingly high number, in my opinion) were willing to give more money last summer with NN, but that was not enough, and besides, times have changed since then. The fact of the matter is that in order to be successful at reducing crime, the City needs to hire more cops and needs better leadership and money management. Just doing one without the other is unlikely to bring the type of change we need to see.

  54. Ralph

    If OPD can get more cops, improve arrest rates and “reduce crime” without increasing my taxes, then I am all for more cops. I just won’t increase my taxes to get more cops and thankfully 45% of Oakland agrees.

  55. Robert

    Perhaps Chief Batts can talk the OPOA into a 10 to 20% cut in pay in exchange for a 10 to 20% increase in the number of officers? Oakland gets more officers without any increase in budget, and overtime is very likely to go down. This makes sense if you believe that the reason that Oakland pays more than surrounding jurisdictions is that it is a less desirable place to work. So more officers, lower crime, better place to work, so you no longer need the higher salary to get officers to work here.

    I know, just an idle dream.

  56. len raphael

    Rbt, not an idle dream, only wish a 10% cut would be enough. Vicious cycle where the cops base salaries are too high now that the west coast muni compensation race has come to a screeching halt, cops who chose to stay in OPD instead of calmer better run venues, are getting hooked on 150 to 300k/year wages where the ot is absurdly high. our officials tell us that its cheaper to pay to ot than to pay the benefits for more cops but we know that a cop pulling that kind of ot is to tired to do a good job consistently.

    so how much time can our leaders buy by selling surplus property, doing “one shots”, increasing monthly unpaid furloughs. maybe one more year?

    since they aren’t showing the backbone to make the painful choices, they could at least do the residents the honor of having staff lay out several alternative budget scenarios that are projected 5 years forward so we can go thru the stages of grief over the next several months. that also gives them some cover for the unpleasant inevitable decisions. we shouldn’t have to guesstimate what the projected numbers are. if staff doesn’t already have them, they should be the first to be laid off.

    -len raphael

  57. Mike d'Ocla

    “Mike – Chief Batts is a veteran officer with loads of education and experience, and he disagrees with you.”

    I have to assume that Batts is still trying to figure out what is going on with OPD and that this will take 6 months or more.

    It’s clear that the political chatter here is all about how many officers we have and it seems very likely to me that Batts is going along with the conventional wisdom for the time being until he gets his bearings. That is, if he ever gets his bearings. He is going to have a very hard time getting his bearings and bringing some reality to local political discourse if Oakland elected officials and citizens continue to talk about total numbers of cops without talking about exactly how many cops are actually involved in reducing crimes.

    All the focus on the total numbers of officers does not get at the heart of the matter. It’s not at all clear that right now much crime-reduction problem-solving is actually being done. That’s what needs to change first, before more staffing becomes the priority.

    You need to keep in mind that other cities with fewer police per capita than Oakland, and with similar or worse socio-economic conditions, have much lower crime rates. San Jose is a good example. Also the notion that Oakland needs more civilian staff in order to relieve police officers to reduce crime is mistaken. Oakland already has many more civilians working in staff jobs proportionally than, say, San Jose.

    The bottom line is we need to articulate the problems we have, to clearly describe the solutions and then provide measurements of success or failure. Continuing to talk the hooey about numbers of cops does not get us anywhere towards real problem-solving.

  58. len raphael

    Mike citizens have stepped in to chatter in the vacuum of political and civic leadership. we had over three decades of little citizen chatter before we sunk to current level of muni services.

    In a perfect world the muni govt would have high transparency to the point where it would provide data and analyse it to to answer residents’ questions.


    Whether our informed chatter remains just that is the question.

  59. Livegreen

    I have to agree with Len, Robert, Marleen & Ralph.
    We need more cops but must do it without costs. Oakland has a lower # of cops than other West Coast cities and WAY lower than East Coast cities. San Jose might be the exception but SJ has lower poverty and WAY less extreme poverty as a % (more of their poor are working poor).

    Ron Oz has some good comments but it’s hard to read through his long-winded rambling letters. He also mixes his personal feelings in with incidentals and facts. It’s a hard read. I agree with him and you Mike that Tucker was awful (he called Community Policing “Going Native”).

    But what took R Oz 50 rambling emails to do it took Don Link ONE “My Word” to do written at the right time. It was one of the best, most effective editorials in Oakland history.

  60. Ralph

    I don’t think we need more cops. I am willing to pay for more cops if Chief Batts can do it from his existing budget. That is, he has identified mismanagement and waste and opts to reallocate those dollars to personnel. I think first and foremost, he needs to identify what is working inside the house and kill what isn’t.

    I like to describe Oakland as a bunch of BHL whose first response is to throw more money at the issue, any issue. Apparently something like 45+% of the people, myself included, don’t think this is the answer. Accountability!!!

  61. Mike d'Ocla

    Len: “Whether our informed chatter remains just that is the question.”

    Ralph you are right.

    Livegreen you are poorly-informed and an obstacle to progress.

    I am trying to suggest that uniformed chatter is a significant part of the problem. It lets the electeds and others in power to continue NOT to solve problems.

    It’s time to stop this, to start doing the work of sorting out the facts and the opportunities and to start demanding some accountability.

    Otherwise this inaction on public safety will continue.

  62. Mike d'Ocla

    Livegreen: “We need more cops but must do it without costs. Oakland has a lower # of cops than other West Coast cities and WAY lower than East Coast cities.”

    Oakland does not have lower numbers than other comparable cities with much less violent crime.

    The way to get more cops actually solving crimes without additional costs is to organize the department for greater efficiency, as Ron Oz clearly states.

    Livegreen: “Ron Oz has some good comments but it’s hard to read through his long-winded rambling letters. He also mixes his personal feelings in with incidentals and facts.”

    If you have trouble reading and gleaning facts, then you should think twice about making your destructive and uninformed comments. Change in Oakland is going to take hard work, and doing some careful reading is the very least of this sort of work.

    Think a bit about what you write before you write it. Is your intention to help foster progressive change or is it simply to spout off because you have nothing better to do?

  63. Mike d'Ocla

    For those of you who are too lazy to read or have trouble reading I quote from Ron Oz’s essay of 9/18/08 titled “Oakland Is a National Crime Center.”

    “It should be unavoidable to conclude that Oakland is in a crisis situation regarding the violence, that this dire situation is contrary to experiences elsewhere, and that we can and must do something about it. We must reject the distractions. Oakland is not naturally and uncontrollably crime prone. It is not that we need more cops or facilities. It is certainly not that we should give the Chief’s ad hoc [no plan] “Geographic Policing” and 12-hour shifts “more time.” What’s been done with OPD over the past four years has been a continuing and increasing failure.

    “[Tucker predecessor] Chief Word started the decade [2000] with 5,754 violent crimes having occurred in 1999 and finished his tenure in 2004 with 5.151…a DECREASE of 10.5% five years later.

    “Chief Tucker started his job in 2005 with 5,151 violent
    crime having occurred in 2004, and will finish 2008 with 8,300…an INCREASE of 61.1% four years later.

    “Oakland was in a certain range from 2000 to 2004, and then jumped dramatically each year since to culminate in 2008 with the highest violent crime rate in a decade. Whereas nationally the violent crimes decreased steadily and 2007 witnessed the lowest violent crimes in this decade.

    “Since Chief Tucker’s “re-organization” went fully to 12-hour shifts and three precincts [his Geographic Policing] at the start of 2008 the violent crimes jumped another 9.2% over 2007.

    “In 2004, the 17 cities with higher violent crime rates than Oakland averaged 21% more violent crimes. By 2007, this reversed competely, and Oakland experienced 27% more violent crimes than those same 17 cities.

    “On January 1, 2005, in Oakland, the prior year’s experience was 83 murders and 5,151 violent crimes. Mayor Brown had insisted on across the board crime reduction of 20% and thus Chief Richard Word was already gone. On February 4, 2005, Brown appointed Wayne G. Tucker and gave him the hopeful task of reducing Oakland’s high crime rate.”

    I invite all you pompous know-it-all advocates for more cops=less crime to refute Oz’s argument above, and to include relevant data in your analysis.

  64. MarleenLee

    Mike – your tone is not going to win you any support. It is difficult to figure out what Mr. Oz’s arguments are in the quoted passage. Is he claiming that geographic command actually caused a dramatic increase in crime? This seems patently implausible. I would agree that Tucker was ineffective and bad for OPD. But the above passage contains no data whatsoever about police staffing during the relevant time period. In the fall of 2004, staffing was at around 728. By January, 2005 it had dropped to 701. By May, 2005 it had dropped to 688. By January, 2006 it ha dropped to a mere 679. By January, 2008, it was still only at 714, a full 89 officers under its authorized strength. Who knows how many officers were on leave or otherwise not available for crime fighting. Notably, beginning in 2004, an increasing number of officers were taken away from crime fighting duties and put into IA, based on the requirements of the NSA. So at least some of the increase in crime is very likely due to a decrease in officer staffing, and consistent understaffing, during the entire relevant time period you are quoting from. Moreover, qualified experts (outside consultants with no vested interests) have opined that OPD is dramatically understaffed. See the Hartnett report. Also see the Grand Jury report.

  65. Livegreen

    Mike, You’re glib insults are so charming and becoming. It is ammusing that you think people either must have time to read Oz or they must be lazy. It could not b that they are otherwise occupied and his monologues are a hard read?

    Thank u for summarizing some of his stat comparisons. Merely posting the problems however does not lead to but one conclusion. Could u also highlight some of h
    Ron’s proposed solutions?

  66. Mike d'Ocla

    MarleenLee–I am not looking for support, but for critical thinking. Oakland’s violence is not going to be solved by charm school students or bloggers who don’t get away from the computer screen, but by people who walk the walk.

    This means asking hard questions and going beyond the Hartnett Report and the Grand Jury report. There are no necessary truths lying there. I invite you to read Oz’s essays. He is not saying simply that one or another Tucker “policy” was the culprit, but that Tucker’s profound reorganization and disorganization of the OPD destroyed the ability of the department to control crime and also wreaked havoc on morale.

    Again, read Oz’s essays before you start shooting off your wisdom. Oz may be wrong on any number of points, but the points he raises are critical and must be addressed. They are not addressed by you or any other blogger I have read. You may be well-intentioned but I don’t think that you are well-informed.

  67. MarleenLee

    Mike – Perhaps you are the one who is uninformed, if you think I’m a charm school student or a blogger who doesn’t get away from the computer screen. Read my blog and you’ll see I’ve been walking the walk quite a bit. And with a law degree and 17 years of litigation experience, I don’t think I’m lacking in the critical thinking department either. Your posts do nothing to support the argument that additional staffing is not necessary, at least until we are up to the authorized strength, which is all I’m asking for right now, and which is all the Chief is asking for.

  68. Mike d'Ocla

    Livegreen: “It could not be that they are otherwise occupied and his monologues are a hard read?”

    If you don’t have time to inform yourself before you express opinions, then I don’t think you can think of yourself as a responsible citizen.

    Oz’s essays are lengthy in total but they are not hard to read for anyone with a high school level of reading ability. I understand well that many people cannot read at this level and I don’t see reading disability as an indication of low intelligence or problem-solving skills.

    People with competent educations used to talk about the inferiority of “received knowledge,” that is, letting other people do one’s thinking. It’s far better, and more responsible, to gather information yourself, from whatever sources available to you, and to draw your conclusions from what you actually have experienced or are confident that you know. You can do this by reading widely or by getting out and talking to people. And listening to them. I suggest that you get out and talk to a cop or two.

  69. Mike d'Ocla

    MarleenLee: “Your posts do nothing to support the argument that additional staffing is not necessary, at least until we are up to the authorized strength, which is all I’m asking for right now, and which is all the Chief is asking for.”

    I am asking you to specify exactly what these additional staffers will be doing and precisely why that will be critical to the future success of the OPD in reducing violent crime.

    This requires knowing something about policing and just what is NOT being done right now by the OPD and what will be need to be done in the future.

    You haven’t begun to address these notions.

  70. Mike d'Ocla

    Specifics of problems with the OPD which have led to the increase in violent crime. Note that these are not necessarily staffing numbers related. These also may be very good points for questions to ask Chief Batts if you should go to one of his meet and greets.

    1. Closing of the jail under Chief Tucker. This has denied investigators the access to perps which is critical to investigational success.

    2. Elimination of the Patrol Division.

    3. Loss of Planning and Research Division. The department’s existing “plans” aren’t really plans.

    4. Numbers of crime investigators decimated.

    5. Data collection and processing is completely inadequate.

    6. Administration (the “8th Floor”) has become bloated, isolated and ineffective.

    7. Enormous amounts of money have been wasted and unaccounted for.

    8. Among cops generally morale is low and there is a high level of job dissatisfaction.

    9. Command structure is poor.

    10. Tucker’s 12-hour shift “innovation” does not work, and has not worked.

    11. Abandonment of the priority system for responses to investigations.

    12. Patrol and Problem-Solving Officer Beat systems have been neglected.

  71. Born in Oakland

    Wow, getting a little rough in here but I like contrasting arguments. Makes me think a lttle harder. I would only add to Mike’s post the OPD short staffing of the crime analysis unit, (DNA and blood evidence, etc.). He touched on it but I would specify more emphasis. Without a high tech lab, there will be no “social justice” for the victims of some of the most horrific crimes in the Bay Area and our hard working citizens will continue to bear the burden of the City’s “checkbook diplomacy” where the community is served by 2nd and 3rd party contractors for specious social prgrams without any official liability or involvement. Sweet!

  72. Mike d'Ocla

    Born–Thanks for your thoughtful addition. I would also emphasize the need for a thoroughly up-to-date data collection and analysis system for the OPD. With the right hardware and software, patterns in criminal behavior can become quickly identifiable and can lead to prompt police intervention.

    Before I blow this pop stand I would like to offer two last points:

    1. The proof is in the pudding regarding the (in my humble opinion) idiotic focus on staffing levels or numbers as the heart of the OPD problem: we’ve (citizens, City Council, Mayor) been doing this for a couple of years now, if not more, and it’s produced ABSOLUTELY NOTHING regarding violent crime reduction. One definition of insanity is to keep doing what doesn’t work. So, fellow nuts, let’s just keep focusing on the total number of cops.

    What’s the old saying–”when the finger points to the moon, the idiot looks at the finger.”

    Why not focus on the total number of murders? Sorry!

    2. Humor note of the day. One of the big problems with the Tucker OPD administration was the inordinate amount of travel that police administrators did. Going to conferences, learning “best practices” from all the highfalutin experts, instead of solving problems right here at home by being good supervisors.

    The result is that we have a police captain who is certified for snow avalanche rescue. I don’t exactly recall our last big snow, but I definitely know that we’ve never yet had an avalanche.

  73. Livegreen

    Mike, It is amazing to me that you think having not read through all of Oz’s monologues makes somebody mis-informed or make somebody an irresponsible citizen. Who made Ron god on this subject and infers he is the only legit source of info? Nobody except you (not even Ron himself).

    You tell me to get out and inform myself. Uh thanks for the suggestion. Without further cheap glib insults, without knowing me, please tell me how you know I haven’t?

    And why do you assume I haven’t met a cop or two?

  74. Livegreen

    Mike, You reply to Marleen:
    ” I am asking you to specify exactly what these additional staffers will be doing and precisely why that will be critical to the future success of the OPD in reducing violent crime.
    This requires knowing something about policing and just what is NOT being done right now by the OPD and what will be need to be done in the future.”

    Marleen is referring to Officers OPD already has budgeted and already has plans for. It’s also the law. If u don’t agree with that law or want more info to determine what for, the onus is on u to research and protest it, not on others to do it for u.

    And if u disagree with the staffing levels and requirements of the law then I would place u in a very small minority.

    I agree with u that the efficacy and structure of staffing is important but I think this can be a parallel discussion, not an either-or. There is no reason only one thing at a time has to happen.

    I’ll review your list of Specifics later. I see some that I agree with and others that I have questions about…

  75. len raphael

    Over the last couple of years i have read many of Ron Oz’s posts. Much to think about, he had plenty of very specific good recomendations for improving management and operations. But what often struck me was how he avoided putting the OPD weaknesses in a political context. If anything his pieces seemed as if he felt that if he could only get Dellum’s ear, that the Mayor would surely implement some of Ron’s solutions. i thought it was either naive (which he obviously is not) or he was angling for a spot at OPD. More likely he did it to make his advice more attractive to the officials in power.

    My overall impression is that fixing 85% of the problems of OPD was not so complicated that we needed a superstar Bratton for the cure. Didn’t need any more studies or even a compstat. We needed the unified consistent backing of the voters and the leadership of their elected officials to fix opd and do more than pay lip service to crime reduction.

    -len raphael

  76. Robert

    Mike, your comments about Batts, that it “…seems very likely to me that Batts is going along with the conventional wisdom…” are disrespectfully to him. He has known for months that he would be taking over the job here, and anybody worth his salt would have spent that time learning about the job ahead of him. To assume that he doesn’t have a clue about the situation here is ridiculous. He has had plenty of time to come up with a general understanding of the department’s weaknesses, and if he makes a statement that he thinks we need more officers, it is going to be an informed opinion, not parroting somebody else’s ideas, as you seem to be.

    As for more police not being effective, we have done our own little experiment in Oakland. This year, coincident with actually getting up to 800 officers for a few months, crime in Oakland actually dropped off compared to last year. Have you considered that that might actually be due to the increased number of police? Or has your dogma gotten in the way? That is not to say that changes in how we do policing would not be helpful. But the evidence we have suggests that more police would be helpful also. I am not sure of your background, but unless you have spent years in law enforcement, I seriously doubt that you are able to make an informed evaluation of policing strategies, and how to best utilize police officers.

  77. Mike d'Ocla

    Robert: “Have you considered that that [higher numbers] might actually be due to the increased number of police?”

    No. I am not interested in imagining what “might” have happened. I want to know exactly what happened. What the additional policemen have done and how that affected crime.

    My point is that if the police department is only working at 50% efficiency, adding 5% more officers is only going to get working capacity up to 55%. Increasing the efficiency of the department from 50% to 80% is going to be much more useful. And that is the problem with the Oakland Police Department. The existing staff is not being well-used.

    The specific reasons include former Chief Tucker’s “Geographic Policing” set-up which keeps officers driving all the way across town to make crime responses instead of dealing with crime within assigned beats. This wastes enormous amounts of time. The former 35 city beats system was much more efficient. Under current policies each police response (call) takes about 80 minutes. A reasonable average response time is 15 minutes. Even cutting each response to 40 minutes would double the effective police on the street. This is a management problem. Oakland’s police department is not working now because of specific management problems. These efficiency problems are many in the OPD and need to be articulated and each dealt with fully.

    I will give Chief Batts all the respect he deserves when he starts reducing crime. If he fails to do what he has been hired to do, then I will work very hard to see that he moves on.

    Len: “Over the last couple of years i have read many of Ron Oz’s posts. Much to think about, he had plenty of very specific good recomendations for improving management and operations.”

    It’s easy to be critical of someone else’s hard work. Ron Oz has been a true voice in the wilderness. I hope you haven’t forgotten the important fact that police everywhere tend to be very isolated and insular and there is a very powerful police culture prohibition about talking to the public about what really goes on in any department. Ron Oz has toed an exceedingly narrow line and taken what I consider to be considerable personal risk in talking about police matters in a substantive way while still maintaining relationships of trust within the department.

  78. len raphael

    interesting that dellums picked a chief who upfront says right at the beginning of his term that his dept won’t be able to do more than respond to 911 call is he doesn’t get more cops.


  79. Livegreen

    Whole reason for the Community Police in M-Y. There was no other way to get a beat cop into neighborhoods.

    Still can’t get answers from them half the time but at least the good one’s know their neighborhoods…

  80. len raphael

    At least two of the council members (not DLF) talked about changing M-Y. What’s up with that? Is it mostly because they wan’t more money to cover the cop part of the deficit, or is it because they want more wiggle room on how to spend it? Or more money to spend on the “anti violence programs” whose praises were sung by at least one member (was it Pat K?)


  81. len raphael

    What was strange about Pat K’s defense of city misusing M-Y funds was that as a lawyer you’d think she would have respected the letter of the law over what she believes is it’s spirit. or just something about even a little bit of power corrupts

  82. V Smoothe

    I will write something about it next week, hopefully. As you guys can probably tell from the lack of posts, I have been extremely swamped lately and have had trouble finding time to write. I’ll do my best to get back in the rhythm next week and will post about the Chief. I still don’t have a clear answer on whether the Trib will be putting up the audio or a transcript, I’ll let you guys know when I get one.

  83. Mr Ron Perazzo,sr

    Can you push the gov of cal tax-write off in june for Public Surveillance in at public
    A.C.Trasit,Bart lines intersections like Eastmontmall , Web Cams ,Secur cams
    on 2′,3′ floor behind mir glass faceing homes,stores catching public crime for
    court cases putting more plane clothes p.d.s on A.C.Transit and Bart lines
    also round,rouse up Gang tagers Make them Repaint the walls,
    Put GPS Tracting on all piont of Sale Electronics to Sereal # So when Slolen,be-
    Tracked for capcher and jail time and gang photos for Bus Shelters for call to
    thank you for hearing from myself Mr Ron Perazzo,sr
    or look at my crime enforcement Resume– ronperazzosr@yahoo.com.

  84. Mr Ron Perazzo,sr

    Again Pease Push Mayor Dellems for public Tax-Write Off For
    2’3′ floor behind mirror glass Web,Security Cams Faceing each others
    Homes,Storefronts for Crime Prevention Photo proff for court cases and
    Public Surveillance Web cams along all Bart, A.C.Transit Hubs,
    Roust, Round up All Gang’Tagers and Make Them Repaint the Homes and
    Storefronts and Put Gang photos in’at Bus shelter, they hate being EyeBalled
    and Filmed , I.D’ed for that phone Tip.
    thank you for hearing from my slelf mr.ron perazzo,sr
    Pease E-Male me Back Soon mr Batts