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Dellums announces switch to geographic policing strategy

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellus.
Photo by Luke Thomas

By Jeff Shuttleworth

November 28, 2007

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced yesterday he's restructuring his city's Police Department so it has a "geographic accountability model," replacing the current citywide deployment model.

Speaking at a news conference at Oakland's emergency operations center, Dellums said the change is "significant" and "important" in the city's ongoing effort to fight crime.

He said the new system was made possible when an arbitrator recently ruled that Oakland can deploy its patrol officers on 12-hour shifts three days a week instead of the current system of deploying officers on 10-hour shifts four days a week.

Dellums and Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker are in favor of 12-hour shifts, which also allow officers to have three-day weekends every other weekend, but the move was opposed by the police officers' union.

Dellums' restructuring also comes in the wake of Oakland being named the fourth most dangerous city in the U.S. in a survey released by CQ Press, a unit of Congressional Quarterly Inc., last week.

Dellums said the new system, which will take effect Jan. 19, is in alignment with "true community policing and best practices" and is aimed at being more efficient.

He said the commitment assigns officers to specific neighborhoods and keeps those officers in that community to ensure they get to know those areas and make a long-term difference in their patrol area.

Dellums said, "By reorganizing our police department to a geographic policing model, we are empowering our communities with the resources they need to effectively bring peace to our streets."

Joining Dellums at the news conference, Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said, "This represents a change in the way we do business" and is based on a model that's worked well in Los Angeles, Richmond and several cities on the East Coast.

However, Jordan added, "We recognize that there will be challenges" in implementing the new system and said police "ask the public to be patient and supportive" while all the wrinkles are ironed out.

Jordan said police officials will discuss the changes at a series of community meetings, including at a Dec. 11 Oakland City Council meeting, and also announce them in emails to community members.

Jordan said the current six police service areas commanded by police lieutenants will be consolidated into three larger areas, each commanded by a captain with a staff of five lieutenants.

In addition, a support operations division will be created to deploy citywide resources at the request of area commanders.

Jordan said Area 1 will include North and West Oakland, Area 2 will include the Lake Merritt area down to High Street and Area 3 will run from High Street south to Oakland's border with San Leandro.

Jordan said the larger areas will eliminate the artificial barriers created by the current police service areas system.

He said the new system also will allow some neighborhoods such as the Glenview and Dimond or the Elmhurst neighborhood, which are currently divided, to work more closely together with the Police Department on common issues.


Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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