Oakland Police Chief upbeat about new officers

A new class of sworn-in officers for the Oakland Police Department.
March 22, 2013 6:17:27 PM PDT
Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan says the addition of 38 new officers is the first of many steps that will place more patrols on the streets of the embattled city. The increase of staff is expected to add diversity to the department and rebuild trust with the community.

Jordan sat down with "ABC7 News" to discuss his crime reduction strategy. He says building trust with the community is a major hurdle for his department.

"The neighborhood policing goes hand-in-hand with our ability, our desire to get into compliance with the settlement agreement. What it really comes down to us being able to be more transparent," he said.

That transparency will start with plans for the OPD to divide the city into five distinct districts; each led by a captain who is accountable to the chief for the crime in that area.

Jordan and city leaders have been working to promote the idea of community involvement through a series of town hall-styled meetings, where citizens in neighborhoods overrun by crime have had an opportunity to sound off to police brass.

"Well one of the big, the nice things about this process is that it brings the community into the police department," said Jordan.

The sworn-in officers raise the department's count to 649. The men and women of the 166th police academy are the first of three planned police academies this year. The group is young and diverse, with more than half of the new officers speaking a second language.

"They get to wear this uniform, get to become part of this family and go out there and protect the citizens of Oakland," said Jordan.

Among the graduates are Brenton Lowe, a third generation Oaklander, and Michael Ransom. Both of whom are fully aware of the need for officers to live in, and reflect the community they serve.

"We're very proud of what our folks did to recruit and hire, it represents the diversity of Oakland," said Jordan.

"I just want to be in the best position to help those who need it and I think Oakland is the place. I'm glad they have me, I'm glad that they would have me so I can go out and do the best I can," said Ofc. Michael Ransom.

The recruiting efforts for the OPD continue. The goal of the department is to graduate a new class every six months.


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