East Bay News

Oakland introduces new police consultant Bratton

Wednesday, March 06, 2013
William Bratton New Oakland police consultant William Bratton

The man hired to help fix Oakland's crime wave is officially on the job as former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton was introduced to the Oakland police force on Wednesday.

Bratton said that the city's crime problem is a winnable situation. He expects quick gains in the fight against murders and other crimes.

In addition to heading the LAPD, Bratton was also the New York City police commissioner. He is a proponent of the controversial tactic known as "stop and frisk." Opponents of stop and frisk fear that the tactic unfairly targets minorities and may violate people's constitutional rights.

Bratton defended the policy.

"To be quite frank with you, there's not a police department in America that's going to be effective without it. It's a basic tool of policing. But with the responsibility of police, the leadership, the officers themselves, the training they're given, is to always do it constitutionally," he said. "Do it compassionately, you are dealing with human beings and to do it consistently."

Bratton's consulting company, Strategic Policy Partnership, is getting $250,000 from the City of Oakland. He acknowledged that Oakland police are under-staffed, but he said that could be remedied by using police from the state as well as law enforcement officials from the federal government.

He also pointed to using technology like cameras and monitoring social media to see what potential criminals might be up to. Bratton encouraged Oakland to look at an old problem through a new set of eyes.

Bratton has been in town for about three days, riding with police and meeting with officials including Gov. Jerry Brown and Mayor Jean Quan. He said he is the man for the job and so Oakland's problems are now his problems.

"I expect them to practice constitutional policing and we do walk and stops in Oakland and it's what I expect officers to do, but it has to be based on reasonable suspicion," said Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan.

Defense attorney John Burris is helping to oversee federally-mandated reforms in the Oakland Police Department. He said, "Hunches are not good enough. There has to be factual basis and assuming that doesn't become a problem, then I think his efforts at trying to reduce crime is an important, positive step."

At Oakland City Hall on Wednesday night, residents got a presentation from Bratton's firm and recalled another report from him.

"This is not the first time Mr. Bratton has been to Oakland and they shelved that and did not pay any attention to it, and now they're trying to reinvent the wheel," said Oakland resident Nancy Sidebotham.

On Friday Bratton will go back to New York where he has expressed interest in his old commissioner's job. He'll return to Oakland several times over the next three months, making his recommendations which the police department has the choice whether or not to accept them.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
oakland, crime, OPD, los angeles, new york, east bay news
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