A spokesperson for the Oakland Police Department confirmed the city council voted 7-1 to hire former LAPD Chief Bill Bratton. The contentious decision was made in hopes an outside eye will help the city reduce it’s recently spiked crime rate. Bratton will receive an annual salary of $250,000.
This is not the only staffing change approved by the council. At the current time the department has just over 600 officers. Additional civilian staff will be added to the Oakland PD and several more deputies from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department will also be brought in. It is hoped that these additional hires will be able to successfully address rising crime. Statistics indicate violent crime rose by 23% in 2012.
Many elected officials are applauding the decision to hire Bratton. Residents are mixed in their response. Opponents of the move cite a belief that the former LAPD and NYPD Chief has a history of racial profiling. This is due to his reported “stop and frisk” policy that they feel will unjustly target minorities. Another man suggested that Bratton specifically tries to shutter African American and Hispanic communities with a guilty until proven innocent approach of policing.
Critics point out the Oakland PD was almost taken over by the federal government last year. Harsh treatment of Occupy Oakland protesters combined with purported racist photographs of members of the judicial system brought the department under mass scrutiny. At the current time, though, the city retains control of day to day operations.