William Bratton

The Oakland City Council voted early Wednesday morning to hire William Bratton as a crime consultant. Bratton used to head the Los Angeles and New York police departments, where he saw double-digit reductions in crime during his tenure. While his “stop-and-frisk” and “zero tolerance” polices have been controversial, some officials hope his expertise could reverse Oakland’s rise in violence. Are consultants the solution to Oakland’s problems? How should the Oakland Police Department move forward?

Noel Gallo, councilman and head of the Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee and former director for District 5 of the Oakland Unified School District
Rachel Herzing, co-director of Critical Resistance, an Oakland group opposed to the hiring of Bill Bratton
Matthai Kuruvila, staff writer covering Oakland City Hall for The San Francisco Chronicle
Bob Jackson, bishop at Acts Full Gospel Church of God in Christ in Oakland
Anthony Toribio, assistant chief of the Oakland Police Department

  • $22911251

    The consultants are essentially executive coaches to city and police dept leadership in a time when implementing the smartest and most effective crime reduction methods are critical to the health of Oakland.

    The opposition is just more hyperbolic nonsense from the usual suspects.

  • Hugh

    There are three important corrections to Matthai Kuruvila’s earlier statements and KQED Forum:

    –Why does Matthai say Council President Kernighan “stacked the deck” for calling supporters to come to the meeting, but not when Critical Resistance and Occupy Oakland have done the same, did it first and have done it repeatedly?

    –As Matthai pointed out “Stop, Investigate and Frisk” is Constitutional and the problems New York is having NOW are almost 20 years AFTER Chief Bratton left NYPD. The recent problems have NOTHING to do with him;

    —-Chief Bratton is NOT controversial anywhere but Oakland.

  • eriksf

    Years ago I heard a woman on NPR who was an immigrant from Soviet Russia living in crime ridden New York City describe how democracy was irrelevant if she couldn’t walk to the store without being robbed. I agree. In an atmosphere of rampant crime we need to err on the side of intense policing.

  • kristin

    Question for Ms. Herzing: While I share her concerns, I am also concerned about rising crime (both violent and petty) that is directly affecting my personal safety. What alternative solutions would she suggest if Bratton is not the answer?

    • persinho

      Ignore her. She has no solutions.

  • I have lived in the “Harri-Oak” neighborhood, right up the street from Oakland’s Whole Foods, for 10 years. In those ten years, crime in my neighborhood has gotten steadily worse, with a spike in the last three. I was laid off from my job in June 2010. Six months later, my car was stolen from in front of my apartment. I had insurance and got a settlement. With that money, I purchased a used car and a new bicycle, each one in June 2012. My second car was stolen in October from the exact same spot as the first. No insurance this time. Despite my best efforts, I have been unemployed or underemployed since June of 2010. I finally landed some nice full-time work, which I started this week. Yesterday, as I left my new office to get on my bike to ride home, I discovered that my bicycle has now also been stolen. All that was left was the lock’s mangled remains. Two nights ago, the common foyer of the building I live in was broken into. The glass pane was smashed and they reached in and unlocked the door. My neighbors bike was stolen. It was locked up. I’m all for civil rights and all, but this simply can’t continue. “Stop and frisk” whomever you feel like as far as I’m concerned, we, the good citizens of Oakland, also have a right to live in a community that is not plagued by crime and gang violence. These thefts have cost me thousands of dollars that I do not have. I like Oakland. I like Oakland. I’m someone who Oakland would do well not to run out of their city, but it’s getting so that I just can’t afford to live here anymore. Crime has significantly my cost of living here in Oak-town. That sucks.

  • Last night’s council meeting was a truly stunning and predicatable dog and pony show which demonstrated the ignorance of both “progressive” Oakland community, and those who are being preyed upon by allowing OPD to be defunded and decimated. This in spite of a grass roots movement to fund additional officers and social programs (Measure Y) which has ripped off the citizens of Oakland for $20 million/year for the last 8 years.

    Crime is always bad in Oakland, but when we reach a critical mass of murders and/or victims, or when the figures can no longer be juked and it becomes clear just how bad crime has really become, the council and OPD always do the same thing. They do “something.” More precisely, they do something to make it appear that they are doing something.

    The consulting contract is just another permutation of rearranging the deck chairs on the Oakland Titanic, in the fine tradition of changing from PSA (Polisce Services Area) command to Area Command, from “patrol 35” (35 beats, to “patrol 57” (57 communiuty policing beats), or any number of other plans which have been implemented and abandoned.

    Many those who have watched the decimation of the police department over the last 10 years have voted with their feet and left Oakland, leaving the field to the “progressive” movement who see Oakland has their forum for every social justice cause that plagues the world, irrespective of where they live. They are taking a stand against the imaginary police state which they fear will be imposed in Oakland, even as the very real and undeniable increase in violent crime continues to terrorize and victimize Oakland neighborhoods.

    The ignorance of Oakland history (and bsic civics) articulated by so many of last night’s speakers would be comical if it weren’t for the fact that Oakland is dying.

    Bob LaMartin

    • kristin

      So what are the solutions then? Aside from leaving Oakland.

    • erictremont

      Bob, I am in 100% agreement with your observations. Part of the problem in Oakland is that many of the “progressives” who live in the city’s nicer neighborhoods have historically become much more agitated by (for example) the opening of a new Starbucks store than by the blood and carnage that occurs every week in Oakland’s worst neighborhoods. Their priorities have been skewed for years.

  • persinho

    Rachel Herzing is just a lobbyist for the criminals.
    In the future please don’t lend unwarranted legitimacy to her views by including her in the conversation.

    She’s part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  • NTM

    Stacked the deck? This forum has 3 pro-law enforcement voices, 1 reporter, and 1 person critical of law enforcement. Balance? Not on Forum….

  • Brett

    I watched the proceedings last night, and heard speaker after speaker
    mentioning the same three people killed by “Oakland” police (at least one of these shootings did not involve the Oakland Police Dept.), as well several allegations of police abuse. Yet, for every person they mentioned, there were hundreds of murders and thousands of violent acts by violent criminals against our community. Why aren’t these so-called Progressives speaking out against the people who are victimizing Oakland? Where is the outrage regarding the daily violence in Oakland?

    Unfortunately they use a double standard, where anything the police do is used as an example to indict the entire OPD, while the vast majority of violence perpetrated by criminals is shrugged off as being due to poverty. Should we hold the police up to a stringent standard of conduct — ABSOLUTELY. But let’s give them the resources to do their job and deter the criminals who know that they can get away with whatever they want in Oakland.

    BTW, I think the consulting contract is a mistake. We don’t need to spend $250K to come up with a solution to this current situation. And, it will just inflame groups like OO, who will then use it as an excuse to demonstrate and distract the police from what they need to be focusing on.

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