OAKLAND (CBS 5 / KCBS) — Oakland’s police chief told city officials Tuesday it was with “great regret” that he planned to resign next month to take on other opportunities, expressing frustration at a lack of support given the police department during his two-year tenure as chief.
Word of Chief Anthony Batts’ resignation came in a letter from Oakland’s city administrator sent to City Council members and staff. The letter said the 50-year-old Batts planned to depart in early to mid-November.
Batts was hired in 2009 by Oakland after leading Long Beach’s police department for seven years.
In a statement from Batts that accompanied the administrator’s letter, he said he had answered Oakland’s call for a “reform-minded chief” two years ago, but has instead found himself managing a police force trying to reduce violent crime amid officer layoffs and cutbacks.
“Rather than a chief managing a diverse department of law enforcement professionals making the strees of Oakland safe, I found myself with limited control, but full accountability,” he said.
KCBS, CBS 5 and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Reports:
Batts also spoke of the “tremendous work ethic” of OPD’s officers and told them, “You are not thanked nor praised enough for what you do with such little resources and equipment.”
In a separate open letter from Batts to Oakland’s residents, the chief wrote this explanation about his planned departure: “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.”
City officials did not immediately respond to the chief’s criticisms.
Matier & KCBS’ Chris Filippi on search for new chief:
Matier said the Batts’ resignation comes during the same week that the city of Oakland will be hosting a summit on crime prevention.
“Mayor Jean Quan had hoped to use it as a way to lay out her plan that she has been working on for the last couple of months. And now it’s going to be completely overshadowed by the exit of Chief Batts,” Matier said. “This (the resignation) is a statement on her, a statement on the city and he made it clear that Oakland does not seem to have a plan or a consensus about what to do.”
Batts’ dissatisfaction initially surfaced back in January, when he applied to be San Jose’s top cop. At that time, he first cited concerns with Oakland’s commitment to providing support and resources to its police force.
The city administrator’s office indicated that it was currently exploring options on the leadership structure for OPD once the chief steps down, but no further details were provided.
Batts did not indicate precisely what his future holds, but the city administrator’s letter referred to Batts taking on “new and presitgious opportunities.”
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