East Bay News
Oakland police chief lobbying to put cops in schools
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Oakland's Police Chief Anthony Batts is in Washington D.C. right now, lobbying for money to put more police in schools. His goal is to get federal dollars for a pilot program to make kids safer and to build positive relationships with police.
Chief Batts is meeting with Senators Feinstein and Boxer as well as Congresswoman Barbara Lee and others. He is looking for money to place six officers at each of the four middle school campuses. Those schools are Frick, Madison, Westlake and Roosevelt. Each is in a different area of town and none are strangers to violence.
Batts says the idea is to make schools safer, but also to steer kids away from crime and build positive relationships between police and the city's young people at these designated community schools.
"So for us, mentoring is seeing police officers in a positive light, not someone who is taking your mother, your dad, your aunt away to jail, but helping you to succeed. That is the function of our job," said Batts.
"Basically what the community school is, is a resource center for the entire neighborhood. Where in addition to the traditional academic offerings, you're providing a whole range of support services," said Troy Flint of the Oakland Unified School District.
"Yes I think it is a good idea for the kids because there are a lot of problems out here right now," said parent Carolina Madrid.
"I don't like the cops," said student Brenda Prado.
Right there is the problem Chief Batts wants to address -- the relationship between young people and police.
The officers would spend some of their time working with kids one on one, also patrolling the neighborhoods and working with school district police to make it safe for students to come to school and leave without being intimidated or harassed.
Oakland police say officers who would be hired would be from the officers who were laid off this past summer.
OPD, oakland, anthony batts, dianne feinstein, barbara boxer, crime, east bay news, terry mcsweeney
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