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Batts up for new police chief job, Quan issues statement

on January 17, 2011

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts is being considered for the job of San Jose’s new police chief, after just more than a year of service in Oakland.

Oakland Police Department spokeswoman Holly Joshi confirmed that Batts is one of two finalists for the position, but said that neither Batts nor the San Jose Police Department have made any decisions yet.

Media reports of Batts’ candidacy for the San Jose job broke Monday morning, based on remarks Batts is said to have made Sunday to the head of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association.

San Jose’s police department is currently headed by Acting Chief of Police Chris Moore, who has helmed the San Jose force since former chief Rob Davis stepped down in late 2010. Moore is reportedly the other finalist for the position.

This morning Oakland mayor Jean Quan’s office released a brief statement outlining what her office will do to begin a search for a new police chief if Batts takes a new position in San Jose. Here is Quan’s statement in its entirety:

“Last week Chief Batts informed me that he had agreed to become a candidate for the San Jose Chief’s position in October and that he was now a finalist. No one in the City knew this at that time. He asked me to keep this confidential.”

“Yesterday I spoke with the City Administrator and contacted my colleagues on the City Council. Should Chief Batts be chosen and decide to leave, I will immediately appoint an interim Chief and conduct a national search for a new Chief.”

“I have been working with the Chief and top command staff over the last two weeks and am confident that we will continue the reforms within the Oakland Police Department and will continue to make getting new resources for community policing a priority whatever the outcome.”

According to the Matier & Ross column in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose’s city manager hopes to select a new police chief by early February.

Batts joined Oakland’s police force in October, 2009 after serving for 27 years on the force in Long Beach, California. He began his job as Oakland’s top cop by attending a wide variety of public appearances and town hall meetings designed to help Oaklanders learn more about his background, and to let residents address him about public safety concerns.

His tenure has been marked by both financial and public safety challenges. Faced with a massive budget deficit, Oakland laid off 80 police officers in July, despite opposition from the police officers’ union. The layoffs led to some marked changes in the OPD’s policing strategy, including a stronger focus on handling emergencies over investigating non-violent crimes or doing crime prevention work.

In September, 2010, Batts presented the Oakland City Council with an overview of his first year on the job, but told them that staff reductions had hindered his ability to effectively move ahead with the strategic plan his office had issued that August, and that the department needed at least 925 officers in order to reduce crime rates and police response times to acceptable levels. In December, the police department announced that it then employed only 669 officers.

During the past year, the Oakland City Attorney’s Office petitioned for two gang injunctions, in North Oakland and the Fruitvale neighborhoods. Batts also oversaw the OPD’s response to several large and unruly protests in 2010, including those after the verdict and the sentencing in the Johannes Mehserle trial, as well as a March education funding protest during which protesters attempted to stop traffic on the 880 freeway.

The police department recently began to hold policy information sessions on issues like when police officers are authorized to use force. Thanks to the passage of Measure BB, the OPD’s problem-solving officers were slated to return to work January 15.

Oakland North will continue to follow this story.

6 Comments

  1. MarleenLee on January 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Regarding the return of the community policing officers under BB – think again. Apparently the new plan is to dramatically reduce the number of “beats” in Oakland, from 57 to 35. That means that instead of serving approximately 5000 residents, each PSO will be required to serve almost double that number. The worst neighborhoods in Oakland, however, will get two PSOs. This is in direct contravention of the intent of Measure, which voters approved, in part, because at least they knew they’d be getting an officer for their own neighborhood. The City is now trying an end-run around Measure Y and BB by diluting the level of services we’re going to be getting. Please do a story on this important topic!



  2. TheSkylineHighSenior on January 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I don’t blame him, the city council and especially Jean Quan, who is out of touch with the people who actually want public safety and for their tax dollars to work, do not support him nor the department (along with other council members who represent the nicer areas of Oakland and support gang bangers in court)

    He came here optimistic and proactive and has only seen the department reduced by layoffs, his officers quit, no scheduled police academies to rebuild the force and an irrational community made of mainly criminals, their family & friends, and people in the nice areas of Oakland who rarely ever experience violent crime who will always despise law enforcement.

    The residents of this city will deserve every bit of the increased violence they get for voting and reelecting such officials who are fathers/ mothers of convicted murderers and rapists, car thieves, who are caught for DUI, get their cars booted and more.



  3. Benjamin Home on January 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Recall Jean, before it’s too late!



    • TheSkylineHighSenior on January 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      Before she finishes dismantling OPD and hires more anti police advisers who were busted with possession of marijuana!



  4. […] many Oakland city officials, Batts confirmed January 17 that he was one of two finalists for the San Jose position, despite being only a little over one year into a three-year contract as […]



  5. […] Batts had thrown his hat into the ring in the search for a new police chief in San Jose, becoming one of two finalists for the position. Last week, San Jose city officials announced that they had instead selected the San Jose Police […]



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