Oakland Police Consultant Defends ‘Stop, Ask and Frisk’

Police can’t control crime without stopping and frisking suspects, says William Bratton, a consultant Oakland officials have tapped to cope with the city’s surging crime rate.

Speaking in an interview on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California,” on Friday, Bratton fired back at critics of the police tactic often associated with his work in New York City where he was police commissioner from 1994 to 1996.

“Those that are advocating that it can be done away with, or representing that it can be done away with, I’m sorry, because you do away with it and you’re going to have your cities overrun with crime because it is the basic tool that every police department in America uses,” he said.

Bratton declined to give his views of what tactics might work best in Oakland because he hasn’t been there yet. He plans to visit next week.

Watch Bratton’s interview with Jami Floyd, guest host of KQED’s “This Week in Northern California”:

Bratton also gave his view of gun control legislation — predicting that a national assault weapons ban won’t be enacted — and said crime control measures are “not rocket science.” Measures he used to significantly reduce crime in New York and later in Los Angeles can be “replicated,” he said.

Stop-and-frisk, which Bratton prefers to call “stop-ask-and-frisk” has drawn criticism from some civil rights advocates who say it results in disproportionate harassment and arrests of members of ethnic minorities.

“It is a constitutionally protected activity by police,” Bratton said in the interview. “The challenge for police is to do it legally, compassionately, consistently — not just in poor neighborhoods, not just in minority neighborhoods. And that is the issue unfortunately around the country, because that’s where it is more frequently used, because unfortunately that’s where the majority of crime both serious and minor is committed. That is the reality of our lives, our society. It is an essential tool of policing. Can police be better trained, supervised and monitored? I think they can.”

Later in the program, Oakland civil rights attorney Eva Paterson explained her concerns about the tactic.

Watch the full “This Week in Northern California” episode here:

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