Looking for fresh ideas to solve Oakland's growing crime problem, Mayor Jean Quan and Police Chief Howard Jordan announced Thursday that they're turning to two crime-fighting experts for help.
Jordan said at a packed news conference at City Hall that Oakland is contracting with Massachusetts-based Strategic Policy Partnership as well as with William Bratton, who formerly served as police chief in Los Angeles and police commissioner in New York City and Boston.
Jordan said the Strategic Policy Partnership, which is headed by Robert Wasserman, the former chief of staff of the Office of National Drug
Control Policy under President Clinton, has had success in reducing crime rates in many cities across the country where it has been hired.
He said when Bratton was in New York he developed the CompStat system, a system of tracking crimes that has been successful in reducing crime in New York and other cities.
Jordan said of Bratton, "We want him to point us in the right direction in fighting violent crime."
He said he is turning to outside experts because, "Sometimes we're too close to the forest that we can't see the trees."
Jordan said Bratton "has worked in many other cities and perhaps they're doing something we're not doing."
Jordan said another major change he is making is returning his department to a neighborhood-policing program in which captains will be responsible for fighting crime in specific areas. He said the city will be divided into five districts, including two in East Oakland, where much of the city's violent crime occurs.
"This will give us our best opportunity to reduce violent crime in Oakland," Jordan said. "We'll be taking a very aggressive approach."
Quan said police units will focus on smaller areas and "there will be accountability from the top down."
Jordan said Oakland must take action because Oakland's homicide total this year is the highest it's been in five years. He said there have been 127 homicides so far this year, of which five have been ruled to be justified, leaving it with a total of 122 homicides.