Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana sent out a memo this afternoon announcing that police chief Anthony Batts will "resign his position effective early-to-mid November." The communication included a memo from Batts to OPD staff.
Batts writes: "In 2009, I answered the call for a reform-minded chief, a leader with a focus on community policing and high professional standards. I was told Oakland residents were looking for a strong, visible leader to engage the community and reduce violent crime. My goal was to help rebuild a once proud, professional department, geared toard crime reduction and community service. With this goal in mind, rather than a chief managing a diverse department of law enforcement professionals making the streets of Oakland safe, I found myself with limited control, but full accountability. The landscape has changed radically over the past two years and with new and different challenges."
Here is a video of Batts explaining his decision.
This would appear to end a rather tortured relationship between Batts and the city. Early this year, the city was rocked by news that the chief had applied for the San Jose Police Chief job. But Batts did not get the position, losing out to San Jose's Acting Chief, Chris Moore.
In late January, the Oakland Tribune reported:
(Batts) hasn't applied anywhere else, he said, but he refused to commit to Oakland for the long haul unless he sees the city do the same.
"This police department is underfunded and is in need of the very basics to get the job done," Batts said. He had not spoken up until now, he said, because "the decisions were being made by my bosses."
Asking to be quoted as Anthony Batts -- rather than as the chief of police -- Batts said the July layoffs of 80 officers were "a horrendous decision," adding, "The police department cannot be seen as a pariah, with no support, sitting out there by itself."
...As to his future, Batts said in a news release, "I have not made a final decision as to my future with this agency. It still needs to be determined if I am a fit for the city of Oakland's vision for the future." In an interview, he added, "I work my butt off. Unless there's support on all sides, there's no need for me to be here."
In early February, the OPD announced Batts was staying, quoting him as "ready to roll up his sleeves and get back to work."