Oakland Police Department hosts open house event

May 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
For the first time in more than 45 years, the Oakland Police Department hosted an open house Friday night and everyone was invited... or almost everyone.

This was also a great opportunity for people in the community to get an up-close look at some of their life-saving equipment like the mobile command unit and their boat. However, as you might imagine, not everyone was in the mood to celebrate.

"I think that people just don't understand how hard their job is," said Kamahn Smith, a young Oakland resident. And the OPD is out to change that.

On Friday, they opened their doors to the community. The last time that the OPD had a house party at the police station was 1966 -- the year that the building was built.

"I wanted to make us more transparent, more accessible to the public and this is my effort to do that," said Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan.

The mood was festive. Oakland resident Marjorie Ford liked what she saw.

"I've been here, I was raised in Oakland, I've been here almost 70 years and I'd like to see it improve. This is a very good start," said Ford.

There was live music, art and even a performance by the OPD motorcycle drill team, which was a major hit with the little ones.

Youngster Chip Graybosch says his favorite part is the motorcycles.

"We need to give [kids] warm, fuzzy feelings about the police," said Chip's mom.

But not everyone was feeling warm or fuzzy. A grassroots group called Uhuru held a demonstration outside demanding that OPD answer their demands of what they call, "genocide against the African community."

Police, determined not to let the demonstration overshadow their community event, invited the group inside to participate, if they kept the signs and disruptive behavior outside.

"They're more than welcome to come in, but this behavior that you're seeing here is not acceptable and it's not representative of the city of Oakland or its people," said Oakland Police Sgt. Chris Bolton.

The OPD has another open house event planned in the summer.


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