A spokesperson for the Oakland PD said they are hopeful their newly hired consultant will help them reduce violent crime rats within the city. The City Council voted 7-1 this week to hire former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton. Bratton will be compensated $250,000 per year for his expertise.
Violent crime rose nearly 25% in the past year, department insiders say, and they see this move as an opportunity to bring that rate back down. Mayor Jean Quan reportedly said she is both encouraged and pleased the City Council voted in favor of bringing him on.
Some residents see the decision as controversial and have concerns that residents of African American and Hispanic descent could be racially profiled. The mayor has underscored a strong commitment that this will not happen and has said that “stop and frisk” methodologies will not be implemented. Bratton’s role, she said, will be to help facilitate ideas and ways to build bridges between communities in hopes of reducing violent crime.
In addition to hiring a consultant, the City Council also approved the hiring of almost a dozen deputies from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. The deputies will be hired for at a cost of $265,000 and will be employed by Oakland for about six months. They will assist with violence suppression efforts and will work two, ten hour shifts per week. The council said their target start date is Feb. 2 The council further approved a third police academy which is slighted to begin in March. 20 civilian staffers will also be hired.
The Oakland PD currently has about 613 officers. Chief Howard Jordan said he would like to see those numbers reach upward of 1,000. He and the mayor are hopeful that these and other efforts will help bring the current crime rate down by 50%.