Culture

Newsom’s plan to send CHP officers to tackle Oakland’s crime crisis — how would it work?


A frame from a police officer's body camera video released by BART shows an encounter with a BART officer and Shaleem Tindle in Oakland in January 2018. (BART)
A frame from a police officer’s body camera video released by BART shows an encounter with a BART officer and Shaleem Tindle in Oakland in January 2018. (BART) 

That stands in sharp contrast to OPD, where all officers are required to wear body cameras — one of a number of expectations set forth by a longstanding court settlement that allows a federal official to monitor the local police department’s affairs.

CHP is beholden to the California Vehicle Code and not any local entity’s policies. Civilian complaints, as well, will go through CHP and won’t be reviewed by any local officials in Oakland.

“We’ve done a lot of work around the (settlement) trying to get Oakland police officers to act in a certain way. The problem is, other departments like the CHP may not have those standards — in fact, we know they do not,” said John Burris, a civil-rights attorney who pursued the federal court settlement that has kept OPD under oversight for two decades.

Burris helped represent the family of 23-year-old Erik Salgado, who was killed and his girlfriend wounded by undercover CHP officers in June 2020 as he attempted to flee in an East Oakland vehicle pursuit. CHP

OAKLAND — The fleet of 120 California Highway Patrol officers who arrived last week on the governor’s orders to fight Oakland’s rampant crime problem was touted by the city’s leaders as a welcome solution in a time of crisis.

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But a week later, many details are still unclear about how so many state police officers — the equivalent of roughly a sixth of the Oakland Police Department’s force — will integrate with local law enforcement.

What should residents expect to see from an agency that suddenly occupies a major presence in a city with a contentious history of crime and policing?

Neither city officials nor CHP representatives have offered much in the way of detail. At a meeting last week, the civilian-led Oakland Police Commission had some of its questions answered by city police personnel, but the added CHP officers won’t be answering to that oversight body.

It’s also unclear how long this deployment has been in the works or who first suggested it. At a public event in San Francisco last week, Mayor Sheng Thao said she was directly involved in the process but didn’t clarify whether it was her idea.

Below are some key unanswered questions about the move by Gov. Gavin Newsom, who in last week’s announcement described the city’s crime problem as “alarming and unacceptable.”

How exactly will CHP help fight crime in Oakland?

The state’s new Oakland detail will focus on “auto theft, cargo theft, retail crime, and high-visibility, proactive traffic enforcement,” per an email from a CHP representative.

That aligns with crime numbers in the city, which last year showed significant increases in burglaries and robberies, and with public outrage over retail theft.

What remains unclear, however, is where OPD’s enforcement efforts will end and the CHP’s will begin and how the two agencies will work in tandem, if at all.

CHP officers have been assigned to Oakland on previous occasions: Six officers and a sergeant came last August to help with a crack down …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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