Will CHP patrols help Oakland?

In response to Oakland’s escalating crime problems, Governor Schwarzenegger announced yesterday that he will be sending California Highway Patrol officers to help police our streets:

Officials said the force will include “a substantial number” of CHP officers joining Oakland police and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies on the streets. But authorities refused to further detail the operation.

“There’s a concern about letting the bad guys know what the strategy is,” said Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear. “If you let the bad guys know how many officers you have coming in, that’s not necessarily helpful in fighting crime.”

Okay, I don’t know what the deal with not disclosing the number of officers coming to Oakland is. My guess is that it isn’t very many, and that is why they don’t want to reveal the number. But that could just be me being terrifically cynical.

The move is not unprecedented. The State loaned us CHP officers to address crime problems in 2003 and 2005. Rotating a total of 100 CHP officers through cities with high gang activity is part of Schwarzenegger’s statewide anti-gang initiative (CalGRIP) announced in May.

Once again, Dellums seems to be trying to take credit for something he had little to do with, although I can’t say that I really care. I’m just happy that anything at all is being done. It is important to note, however, that this is really only a band-aid measure. Oakland needs to find the resources to secure long-term funding for additional police officers of our own. The best shot we have at doing that is increasing tax revenues. How do we do that? Development. Of course, knowing Dellums, the soon-to-be-released public safety initiatives will rely on begging the State for money rather than increasing our own revenues.

More from the Trib:

The CHP officers, who will be paid out of the department’s existing overtime funds, will join Oakland police and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies in cruising gang-plagued areas.

“Providing additional traffic enforcement, we come across folks who have guns (or) drugs in their cars and we assist by taking those folks off the street,” said CHP spokeswoman Fran Calder.

As I noted in a comment on the post below, “taking those folks off the streets” will only help if they actually stay off. I am constantly linking to a story from Novometro about the District Attorney’s attitudes towards Oakland. Please read it. The bottom line is that the DA’s office does not seek jail time for “small crimes.” You know, the sort of crimes the Ms. Calder is talking about. Oakland residents need to start putting pressure on Tom Orloff to not let so-called “minor” offenses go anymore. Otherwise, the influx of new patrols will make no difference.

2 thoughts on “Will CHP patrols help Oakland?

  1. Jim M

    The CHP will be nice but since the funding comes out of police overtime how long can it last? Since the city is already after police over time, will less money be available for the regular officers? Towards the end of the budget year will the number of work hours be cut so we see less police?

  2. V Smoothe

    Jim –

    I believe the money for this is coming from CHP overtime funds, not OPD. The rotating CHP patrols were one part of CalGRIP that was fully funded by the Assembly, but that funding will not be available until the Senate approves a budget.