Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Crime Policy At Forefront of Oakland Mayoral Race

For the readers who may not have caught this SF Chron piece, it provides some information about the crime policy of different candidates for Oakland Mayor. It makes for a fascinating read; and interestingly, not all the candidates are uniformly knee-jerk-tough-on-crime-for-the-sake-of-it.

City Councilwoman Jean Quan says the city needs to preserve its community policing efforts, bolstering neighborhood-based programs that many credit with cutting crime. She voted to keep some of those programs even at the expense of officers' jobs.

Former state Senate leader Don Perata is willing to throw many such programs out the window if it will keep more cops on the force, a stance that has earned him the support of the police union.

And City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan points to economic development strategies that could provide jobs for residents, rather than more funding for the Police Department, as the surest way to cut crime.

In other Oakland news, it appears that Johannes Mehserle, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in relation to Oscar Grant's shooting, is seeking a new trial. The relevance of his new evidence to the issue of his guilt seems rather tenuous, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Tom said...

We need to get our officers back, period. That's not to understate the benefit of community policing or economic development, but without the basic number of officers this city needs to patrol and investigate, those plans are no more than building beautifully-appointed castles in the clouds. These layoffs are having a ripple effect that most people don't understand: when cops are expecting that they'll have to be job hunting soon, in order to be eligible for hire at another department, they have to keep their administrative records clear in the near-term future of any open internal affairs investigations or complaints (the majority of which are determined to be unfounded... after months of investigation). That means a lot of cops expecting that they're vulnerable in the next round of lay-offs are essentially clock-punching: they'll chase radio calls and write reports but will avoid getting involved in or having their names associated with anything that might be more trouble down the road than they need. Anyone who has a grand plan for transforming career civil servants preoccupied with CYA in lean budgetary years into heroes of community policing, give Councilmember Quan a call.

Tom said...

Corollary to above: not to mention, a lot of experienced and senior officers who were working assignments with specialized and high-risk populations before have been dragged back to patrol (the basic function that any police department has to be able to do) to cover the laid-off younger officers.