Tuesday, August 6, 2013

National Night Out

Tonight thousands of Oaklanders will celebrate in over 670 National Night Out parties, one of the largest efforts in the nation. For the third consecutive year we have made great leaps and broken our city record as we continue to organize block by block to strengthen our neighborhoods.

This year is particularly significant for two reasons:

First, we are pushing police resources out into neighborhoods this summer in a reorganization built on the work of Bill Bratton and Bob Wasserman. We are making police leadership more accessible and more accountable on a neighborhood level by creating five geographic policing areas across the city, each with its own police captain responsible for the area. You can look up your area captain, beat lieutenant and sergeant, and the problem-solving officer for your beat online at http://mapgis.oaklandnet.com/PoliceDistricts


Officers lining up for National Night Out assignments.

We have asked officers to spend more time out of their cars: walking, biking, attending meetings, talking with residents, and engaging in a friendly way more often. We are seeing some initial modest reduction of some categories of crimes in some areas.

Second, we are making significant progress in the reforms monitored by the federal court. In July our court-appointed Compliance Director, Tom Frazier, wrote in his first progress report that under our new police leadership, the pace of our work has been extraordinary: "The change in the atmosphere of cooperation, and the focus on citizen service and organizational improvement have been recognized by many observers familiar with the inner workings of OPD. Interim Chief (Sean) Whent and his newly-formed executive staff are young, energetic, and obviously hard working." Our reforms include building on our work on the use of force and racial profiling with strengthened policies.  


In recent weeks, the verdict in the Trayvon Martin killing and the release of the film Fruitvale Station, the story of Oscar Grant's last day, have provided the nation and our city an opportunity to open our hearts and minds about some tough issues.  

Tonight is  an opportunity to show the true spirit of Neighborhood Watch -- an opportunity to get to know and to care for each other's children, rather than fear them.

Finally, this year the City Council passed the major initiatives I proposed for public safety:

  • Two new police academies each year
  •  Funding for additional CHP officers
  •  Over 40 civilian positions to free up officers for crime fighting
  •  Major funding for updated police technology, tracking software, police cars, and laptops.

OPD Cadets at last year's NNO rally.

This year we have also recruited three of the most diverse police academies in Oakland history and graduated our first academy in more than four years. We are still trying to grow the number of officers who live in Oakland, and we encourage interested residents to call 888-673-5627.

We are determined to make Oakland safer. We still have a way to go, but we have a plan and new resources. Over the next months we will ask for your opinions on selecting a new chief and finding resources for more police officers. I hope to see you at one of tonight's parties.




Mayor Jean Quan

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