Oakland city officials have hired former New York City police commissioner and Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton as a consultant. City Council President Larry Reid confirmed Bratton's hiring to The Associated Press on Thursday. A formal announcement was expected at a 3 p.m. news conference.
Bratton was New York's police commissioner from 1994 to 1996 and police chief in Los Angeles from 2002 to 2009 and is widely credited with significantly reducing crime in both cities. In Los Angeles, he focused on community policing and worked to resolve tensions between officers and minority communities.
Bratton is currently a senior advisor of Kroll, an international consulting company.
The Oakland Tribune writes:
During his seven years in Los Angeles, Bratton oversaw a 45 percent drop in major crimes and a 41 percent drop in homicides. Crime in that city continued to drop after his departure in 2009. His tenure in New York City from 1994-96 also coincided with double-digit crime drops...
[Bratton] is teaming up with police consultant Robert Wasserman, who already had a $100,000 contract to access the department and review violence and crime prevention strategies.
[Mayor Jean] Quan will be asking the City Council next month to approve an additional $250,000 to Wasserman's firm, Strategic Policy Partnership, LLC, for both short-term and long-term crime reduction studies undertaken by Bratton.
The funds would not come out of the police department budget, and the contract would not have a specific end date, officials said.
Andrew Stelzer, our reporter at the OPD press conference on Thursday, said that Chief Howard Jordan maintained there will be little interaction between Bratton and the new court-approved overseer, who has yet to be hired. Oakland agreed to make that hire earlier this month as part of a deal to avoid federal receivership. The overseer will answer to U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson and will have the power to fire the police chief.
A year go, Bratton commented to the Wall Street Journal about the recent struggles of the OPD, which has undergone a substantial reduction in officers in recent years and has been engaged in an ongoing battle with Judge Henderson over the city's failure to complete reforms mandated by a 10-year-old consent decree. There have also been 130 homicides in the city this year, the most since 2006. From the Journal article:
"I don't see anything positive at all happening in Oakland," says William Bratton, former police chief of New York City and Los Angeles and now chairman of Kroll Inc, a global risk assessment firm. He isn't advising either the police union or the city of Oakland. "It's a perfect storm of bad: too much oversight, not enough support from city leaders, too few officers," Mr. Bratton says.