Oakland PD hosts crisis seminar

April 23, 2009 6:52:44 PM PDT
The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, or NOBLE, led a conference in Oakland on Thursday that focused on crisis management for cops.

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And certainly, Oakland Police have had to deal with crisis and most recently, with tragedy with four officers killed by the same man.

Having four officers gunned down in a single day is a crisis of immense proportions for any police chief, but especially for Oakland's Howard Jordan, who was named acting chief just 20 days earlier.

"I wouldn't want that on anyone else. But you learn, you learn from it, you learn where your strengths lie and where your weaknesses lie," said acting Chief Jordan.

With the Oakland officer shootings still fresh on everyone's minds, NOBLE met to discuss crisis policing.

The group included former Oakland Chief Richard Word.

"It's so important to meet with folks. You're going to step into some very difficult situations, step into the fire and as chief, you have to," said Word.

The police chiefs agree that a big part of managing a crisis is to keep the community in the loop. Especially because a crisis is often multi-layered. For instance, the New Year's Day shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant by a white BART police officer stirred racial tensions, and sparked violent protests and demands for accountability for weeks.

While Oakland Police received an outpouring of public support after the officer shootings, there were others who claimed the incident stemmed from lack of trust between the African-American community, and the department.

"The community in Oakland largely looks like me. And I want them to know they have nothing to be afraid of when calling the police," said Oakland Police Lt. Johnny Davis.

To that end, this Saturday at Oakland's Fremont High School, NOBLE will host a town hall meeting with an eye toward improving relations between the police and the people they serve.

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