OAKLAND (KCBS) – Uniformed officers from the Oakland Police Department and other agencies were out in force Wednesday morning in one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods, in response to parents’ complaints that it was unsafe for their children to walk to school.

As part of Operation Sunrise, a joint effort of the Oakland Unified School District Police Department, the Oakland Police Department and officers with the federal housing authority, officers scoured the area bounded by Seminary Boulevard, 73rd Avenue and International Boulevard, arresting parolees and sending truants home to their parents.

Navigating drug dealers and prostitution to get to school undermines the work teachers do in the classroom, authorities said Wednesday.

“[The children’s] daily lives are often challenged in very frightening ways, many sadly on their journeys to and from school. What should be a time of great anticipation and joy for learning can be destroyed by gangs, prostitution, drugs and violence,” Pete Sarna, chief of the Oakland Unified School District Police Department, said.

He said it was unacceptable that 130 children between the ages of 5 and 18 have died because of violent crime over the past decade.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports:

Sarna promised that Operation Sunrise would become a regular occurrence.

Captain Ersie Joyner with the Oakland Police Department said the patrols were a chance to foster stronger relationships between beat officers and residents.

“The community could see that we’re actually out there working with them and not against them,” he said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)