OAKLAND (CBS 5) – The Oakland Police Department is about to lose some precious backup on Thursday.
That’s because the California Highway Patrol has decided to wrap up “Operation Impact,” a 90-day crime suppression program that had CHP officers assisting Oakland officers since November 1st.
“Operation Impact ends January 31st,” Fran Clader, a CHP spokesperson based in Sacramento told CBS 5.
The CHP has assisted Oakland Police for many years, and usually the assistance is funded with state grants from the CalGRIP Program: the California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention Initiative.
But “Operation Impact” was a special deployment, directly promised by Governor Jerry Brown last fall.
“This last 90 day period came directly from the CHP’s budget,” said Sam Morgan, a CHP spokesman based in Oakland who said the Highway Patrol could no longer afford to assist Oakland free of charge.
The CHP’s decision comes just days after Oakland approved a $250,000 contract to bring Alameda County sheriff deputies in to assist police. Morgan said the timing is just a coincidence and that the CHP’s decision was solely based on budget constraints.
“CHP, like any other organization, has a budget that it has to operate within,” Morgan said. “And so it would be imprudent for any agency to expect members of any police department to come in and provide police services unless they were to be reimbursed to the agency.”
City and police staffers are now preparing a contract that, a source said, would pay CHP more than $250,000 to stay on.
City Councilman Noel Gallo said he will make a direct appeal to Gov. Brown.
“He lives here, he knows the issue,” Gallo said. “So, playing this game with the highway patrol – do I pay for them or not? – is really shortsighted on his part.”
Mayor Jean Quan expressed gratitude to the CHP and wants them to stay. “The CHP reacted quickly to our need, offered a vital presence on our streets and delivered results in some of our neighborhoods most impacted by crime. This assistance came in a time of need, and this need still exists,” she said.
Quan said she is scheduling a meeting with the CHP Commissioner to try and stave off the payment to CHP.
“We’re hopeful that state grants can be used to help cover some of these patrol costs going forward,” she said.
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