OAKLAND (KCBS) – Changes at the Oakland Police Department recommended by William Bratton have dramatically reduced crime in the city, officials said just after news came that he would be returning to his role as New York Police Commissioner.
Praise for the positive impact of a re-organization that put more investigative resources at the disposal of local police captains came as Bratton left the role to return to his commissioner role he held in the 1990s.
There were more than a few eyebrows raised in the East Bay when Mayor Jean Quan paid Bratton $250,000 to produce a report about what Oakland could do to control what was then a soaring crime rate.
Bratton was an advocate of the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, which critics in Oakland said would unfairly target Black and Latino young men, but stop-and-frisk never arrived in Oakland.
“The principle outcome of Bratton’s work here was the reorganization of the police department,” said mayoral spokesman Sean Maher.
The city was divided into five districts, where each captain had greater autonomy over staffing and investigations, Maher said.
“On a neighborhood level, we’re starting to see some of these captains make real headway in reducing robberies and other kinds of crime,” he continued.
Murders are down 50 percent in the area stretching from Fruitvale to East Oakland, and 25 percent citywide, according to Maher. “We’re making incremental progress—not enough, not fast enough—but we are making progress.”
Robberies peaked in April and have slowly diminished largely due, Maher said, to police fanning out into the neighborhoods and getting to know people on a one on one basis.
Critics blasted the decision to hire the Bratton Group as consultants at a time when the department was struggling to increase the number of police officers amid changing leadership, all while implementing reforms ordered to settle the Riders police abuse case.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)