Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts Resigns

By Ellen Cushing
Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 2:07 PM

EDITOR'S NOTE: NEWCOMERS TO EASTBAYEXPRESS.COM, POLICE CHIEF ANTHONY BATTS RESIGNED MORE THAN TWO WEEKS AGO. PLEASE LOOK AT THE DATE OF THIS POST -- IT'S FROM OCTOBER 11 OF THIS YEAR. BATTS' RESIGNATION HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DECISION THIS WEEK TO RAID THE OCCUPY OAKLAND ENCAMPMENT. IN ADDITION, INTERIM POLICE CHIEF HOWARD JORDAN, WHO TOOK OVER FOR BATTS TWO WEEKS AGO, HAS NOT RESIGNED.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU LIKELY CAME TO THIS POST FROM A LINK ON TWITTER, FACEBOOK, OR SOME OTHER WEBSITE THAT ERRONEOUSLY CLAIMED THAT OAKLAND'S POLICE CHIEF HAD RESIGNED THIS WEEK IN RESPONSE TO THE OCCUPY OAKLAND RAID AND THAT THIS POST WAS PROOF OF THAT. BUT THOSE REFERRALS TO THIS SITE WERE WRONG. THIS IS AN OLD POST THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH OCCUPY OAKLAND.

Chief Anthony Batts has resigned, according to an internal OPD memo obtained by Harry Harris at the Trib. Per the Trib's report, Batts' e-mail attributed his resignation — which will become effective sometime next month — to mounting pressure and "limited control but full accountability" in his job:

"[When I was hired,] I answered the call for a reform-minded chief, a leader with a focus on community policing and high standards. I was told Oakland residents were looking for a strong visible leader to engage the community and reduce violent crime. My goal was to help rebuild a once proud, professional department geared toward crime reduction and community services....[Now,] rather than a chief managing a department of law enforcement professionals making the streets of Oakland safe, I found myself with limited control but full accountability...The landscape has changed radically over the past two years with new and different challenges."

its been real, Chief Batts!
  • it's been real, Chief Batts!
Batts, who came to Oakland in 2009 after a stint in Long Beach, was in the running for the San Jose Police Chief job earlier this year, though he was ultimately passed over in favor of acting San Jose police chief Chris Moore.

City Administrator Deanna Santana has confirmed Batts' departure, though there's no word yet on what the search for his replacement will look like, or who will run the department in the interim. We will, of course, keep you posted.

Update, 2:15: Here's the full text of the e-mail Batts just sent to the media:

It is with great regret that I tender this official notice of my intent to resign as Chief of Police for the City of Oakland.
In 2009, I answered the call for a reform-minded chief; a leader with a focus on community policing and high professional standards. I was told Oakland residents were looking for a strong, visible leader to engage the community and reduce violent crime. My goal was to help rebuild a once proud, professional department, geared toward crime reduction and community services.

With this goal in mind, rather than a chief managing a diverse department of law enforcement professionals making the streets of Oakland safe, I found myself with limited control, but full accountability. The landscape has changed radically over the past two years with new and different challenges.

I am pleased with the fact that over the past two years, we have implemented positive changes, endeavoring to make Oakland a safer place, including:
• Reducing violent crime by 27% in 2010;
• Ending the 25-year public safety problem of street racing and cruising (sideshow);
• Securing a 25 officer grant to enhance community policing, school safety and to offset officer layoffs;
• Establishing a lapel camera program to impact compliance with consent decree requirements;
• Improving department relations with our diverse community;
• Securing a $1 million grant from The Kaiser Foundation for the OK police mentoring program;
• Completing a major reorganization of the police department to reflect reduced staffing levels and better meet the policing needs of the Oakland community;
• Creating a five-year strategic plan;
• Re-establishing the Police Foundation and;
• Reducing some level of compliance on all 51 tasks of the NSA, with only 12 remaining to move into full compliance.

I have great respect for the citizens of Oakland and the good men and women of the Oakland Police Department. However, with a heavy heart, I have recognized that the conditions, under which I was hired as Chief, have changed and do not allow me to fulfill the primary mission — to provide an environment where one can live, work, play, and thrive free from crime and the fear of crime. To the men and women of the Oakland Police Department, and the residents of this city, it has been an honor and privilege to serve with you.

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