Police Chief Anthony Batts is considering asking the U.S. Department of Justice to help with ongoing investigations to make up for a staffing shortage brought on by the city’s budget crisis.

The layoff of 80 officers last week has forced the department to backburner several long-term investigations involving gangs, drugs and illegal weapons, Batts said.

The chief said Thursday he would ask the U.S. Attorney for Northern California to provide agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to help with those cases.

“Where I came from in Southern California, I worked very closely with the federal agencies for long periods of time. I expect them to be in Oakland,” he said.

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Helping Oakland reduce gang and drug-related crime would improve overall public safety in the Bay Area, Batts said.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Joseph Russoniello’s Office said they had yet to receive such a request from the Oakland Police Department.

Batts said he would bring up the issue when he meets with federal prosecutors in August.

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