The Oakland Police Department's Latino Peace Officers Association and Kaiser Permanente thought it would be a good idea to bring the members of Mexico's federal police force up to Oakland. It turns out the officers from south of the border and the officers from the east part of Oakland have a lot in common.
As Oakland officers went about their routine stops, like one traffic stop for an illegal u-turn, officers from Mexico observed how the officers interacted with the public. There was also a lot to learn about the larger issues of the day -- including the problems of organized crime.
"Drugs, kidnapping, homicides," Ofc. Ramon Chavez said through a translator. "There are so many...organized crime encompasses so much.
And Oakland police have much to learn from the Mexican officers as well.
"Drugs, drugs," Oakland Lt. Fred Mestas said. "It's all about the cartels right now and finding out, not necessarily what their motivation is, that's money, but to find out some of the trends, so of the methods they're using for packaging, the carriers that they're using."
Wednesday's ride-along for the federales may turn into a ride-along with the federales for Oakland officers. At the very least, it can lead to better cooperation.
"The way that we solve crimes and the way we get the community engaged, the way we use our technology, I think it's something we can share with others to make them better," Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said.
A spokesperson for the Oakland Police Department said the welcome mat isn't just out for officers from Mexico. The offer stands for any foreign officers that want to come to teach and to learn.