William Bratton in 2010. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Conde Nast
William Bratton in 2010. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Conde Nast

From KQED’s Andrew Stelzer:

Former New York City and Los Angeles police chief William Bratton is coming to Oakland as a consultant to the city’s struggling Police Department.

After a nine-hour meeting and four hours of public comment, the Oakland City Council voted 7 -1 early Wednesday to approve a $250,000 dollar contract that retains Bratton and his firm.

Mayor Jean Quan and Police Chief Howard Jordan want Bratton to help the city respond to a crime siege that took 131 lives last year and led to a surge in robberies and burglaries throughout the city. Budget cuts have thinned the city’s police force, and the department is operating under court order to reform past civil rights abuses.

Many in the overflow crowd last night denounced Bratton’s support of aggressive tactics like gang injunctions and stopping and frisking people. But though some members of the audience also denounced the councilmembers for inviting racial profiling and ignoring the roots of crime in the community, others said it’s time to try new tactics.

“We support (bringing in Bratton), because what we’re doing now is we’re trying to do something,” said Pastor Gregory Payton of Oakland’s Greater St. John Baptist Missionary Church. “It may not be perfect. But at least we’re trying to do something to protect our children and protect the future of this city.”

Police Chief Howard Jordan tried to reassure residents police will respect residents’ rights.

“There’s been no talk or no discussion in the department about stop and frisk,” Jordan said. “I do not support it, nor will I condone it. I will not allow officers to do that. … We will practice constitutional policing, stopping people based on reasonable suspicion.”

Oakland Local, Chronicle reporter Matthai Kuruvila and Inside Bay Area Online Coordinator George Kelly were among those who Tweeted live from the meeting. We’ve collected some of their Tweets into a Storify below.

Oakland City Council Votes to Hire William Bratton as Police Consultant 23 January,2013KQED News Staff

  • AlgorithmicAnalyst

    Reducing the mobility of criminals is the key factor. If the criminal element can’t leave their houses, they can’t be outside, robbing people in the streets.

    Strict enforcement of traffic safety laws is one way to do that, getting the criminals out of their vehicles.

    Stop and frisk is another way, to stop criminals from operating on foot.

    Both policies need to be implemented in a way that doesn’t reduce public support for the police. Allowing police to be lenient with people who aren’t a threat to public safety is one important factor to be considered.

    Curfews help also, by reducing the mobility of criminals at night.

    Saturation patrols also help. There is a curious perceptual effect that police patrols have. As long as the memory of having seen a police patrol in the area remains in the brain, there is a noticeable reduction of bad behavior, including bad driving behavior, as the memory of the recent patrol continues to be subconsciously projected outwards, even when the police are no longer around. But the more time passes without a police patrol going through the area, the worse bad driving (and other behavior) becomes.

    Various other already known best practices for reducing crime include shot spotter, surveillance cameras, DNA collection and testing, police anti-gang programs, electronic monitoring, etc.

  • When you storify, you should do a better job of including other Twitterers. There were some very powerful speeches and observations shared by involved community members. The tweets included above are heavy on politicians’ smooth words and not heavy enough on the very intense and heartfelt words of the community (which is in line with the way this contract was passed with disregard for the overwhelming opposition to the resolution, actually.)

    For example, a powerful moment was when a young black pregnant woman began to cry saying she was afraid to have her baby boy in Oakland, because she lives in fear of police brutality. And there is no mention of how members of the community tried to physically get in between the police and Omar when they were trying to remove him, or the many times people shared that they have lost faith in this system, in this government.

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