As you all may have read in the papers today, or heard last night, Police Chief Batts has resigned, and Oakland will be searching, yet again, for a new Chief of Police.
A couple of years ago, Chief Batts gave a stirring speech to our club about his plans for fighting crime in Oakland. To paraphrase, at the end of his talk, he said that he could not succeed without the community getting involved. I think that this is equally true for the next Chief.
But what kind of involvement? For years, the City has been trying to strike some sort of balance between increased law enforcement measures, and measures to encourage young people in Oakland from turning towards crime. Chief Batts left behind three law enforcement proposals that have yet to be endorsed or rejected: 1) Expanding the use of Civil Gang Injunctions; 2) Implementing Youth Curfews; and 3) Beefing up our Loitering Ordinance. These are measures that some categorically reject as violations of civil liberties, and that some accept as a necessary measure to save lives and control crime. Many, though, are unsure, or have yet to be heard from.
Though Chief Batts is gone, the City’s acceptance or rejection of these measures will help determine what kind of Police Chief, or what kind of Police Department that we will have for years to come.
At the next Club Meeting, we will discuss these issues and decide whether MGO wants to take a public position as they will soon go back to the City Council.
The meeting will be at:
3565 Fruitvale Avenue
Thursday, October 20, 2011