On February 10, 2013, Robert Wasserman gave a talk as part of the Safe Oakland Speaker Series (organized by Oakland Councilmember Libby Schaaf)1. Please find below the notes from the talk taken by community member Michael Kilian.

Here is the powerpoint he presented.

1.The Oakland Challenge:
-complex policing environment
-lack of confidence in OPD
-intense dislike of OPD by many
-EXTREME 911 WORKLOAD ( Highest in California by two times)
-widespread fear about violent crime
-challenged police force. The Chief [Howard Jordan] wants officers working in the neighborhoods. Too many 911 calls to respond to and officers are running after emergencies

2.Five big national ideas for policing
-Problem solving, i.e. don't just respond to incidents, analyze the underlying problem
-Broken Windows. If you don't fix minor problems they will escalate to major ones
-Partnership with the people. New recruits will work out in the neighborhoods learning the community.
-Violent crime. Prevention vs. arrest-The focus needs to be to stop the next crime before it occurs. Utilize ceasefire approach and Compstat (computerized statistics) to analyze crime in last 24 hrs. And make captain accountable for knowing these stats. and developing strategy to address performance management.
-Community Policing. ALL ABOUT GEOGRAPHY. Put a commander in charge of an area, so everyone knows the captain in their area. Example is burglaries. Map all burglaries, because the best predictor of the next burglary is the house that had a recent burglary.

3.OPD Best Practice Review
-Strengthen cease fire
-Community involvement in training
-Community orientation for new officers
-Geographic policing structure
-Research on domestic homicides
-Victim callback and support
-increase age of new recruits to 25 years
-Strengthen processing of complaints.

4. Geographic Policing.
-5 areas in Oakland, each will have an accountable commander with full control of resources
-Officers will stay in neighborhoods
-PSO [Problem Solving Officer], no reduction, but will report to the commander
-Geographic policing will start as a pilot in two areas on March 3, 2013. and expand to all five quickly.

5.Calls for service (911)
-Keep officers in neighborhoods
-Less out of neighborhood responses
-have non-uniformed civilians respond to many calls and take reports

6. Chief Jordan said his goal in to get 1,000 officers, 803 are good but 1,000 is the goal. Mayor and Santana said that would be a challenge for the budget where police now account for 50% of general fund and that would push it to 75%.


Notes taken by a community member  -- Sent to Grand Lake Yahoo Groups,  Feb. 22, 2013 (published with permission)


Key Points from the meeting presentation

1. Challenges for Oakland are Diversity, lack of confidence in policing, dislike of policing, understaffed police force, 911 overloaded, Fear of Violence/Crime, Challenged Police Work Force

Oakland has the highest number of calls times two of the average similar sized city.

During Lunch today between Chief Jordan & Consultant Wasserman 25 calls came in to 911 that had no officers available to respond.

2. Benefits for Oakland -Diversity, Strong neighborhoods, Officers want to participate, the time is now

Big Ideas

1. Problem Solving Initative (Scan, Analyze, Respond, Assessment strategy)

2. Small problems in an area lead to big so take care of the small problems and the big ones will take care of themselves

3. Partnership - the people are the police and the police are the people, collaboration and discussion

4. Comstat Computer system - police dept are to spend 5 million on computer systems

5. Community Policing - beat officers will stay in their geographical beat and as much as possible, will not respond to 911 calls in other areas. Graduation class officers will get to know the beat they will work in, meet the community and be in the neighborhoods.

6. Violent Crime - Stop violent crime with Ceasefire program which they said did not work in the past because the OPD were working in isolation on this program but they feel it will work this time because they are collaboration with other agencies and the community.

Police Departments in other cities have been able to predict burglary crimes by looking at statistics on previous burglaries. Burglars go back to the same areas, watch for signs of people purchasing new TVs, Computer equipment, electronics and hit those areas again - they often hit the same homes after they have replaced stolen items.

The plan is to divide the city into 5 Geographical Areas, each one accountable to a Captain Commanding Officer, with the Problem solving Officer on the beat. There will be no reduction in Problem solving Officers. The department will review ComStat (Computer Statistics) reports to review quality of response. A pilot system of this system will be put in place in March with the results of this driving the other Geographical Areas.

Crime Response

Operation Cease Fire in collaboration with other agencies including State, County and Federal help

Investigative Process - improvement - having Police Techs come to take reports, using phone calls to respond to the community where an officer is not required.

Burglary response - predicting the next one will use data on previous burglaries

They expect to see results in the short term - less than 3 months.

Calls for service in neighborhoods that do not require immediate attention will work like a call for service to Comcast - a technician will give you time slot in which a technician will get back to you. [Note they were not clear what kind of calls would get immediate attention and which would not]

When asked what Oakland’s Problems were, consultant Robert Wasserman said that in the past there has been a lack of true geographical policing, zero trust in the police department and zero focus. Also the number of violent criminals coming to Oakland is a huge problem.

Oakland Police Department

OPD is funded by 50% of the general fund

OPD are spending 5 million dollars on IT including the ComStat software

When asked how many officers is the goal the City Administrator referred to the Chief, Chief Jordon wants 1000 officers, but the Mayor thinks 900 officers is the goal and similar sized city like Cincinnati have 1500. Right now they are trying to get back to the pre-economic downturn level.

Parcel Tax Plan

Mayor Quan again suggested that she wants to put a $300 per household parcel tax innovative on the ballot to cover the cost of more police; however some residents think education is more important and she’s to get the word out and after proposition Y [Measure Y] and the squandering of funds and lack of faith in how the department is run, she is not sure if this will pass.

Some of the citizen comments included

a) A resident of Montclair reporting 8 police officers hanging out and having breakfast at the Egg Shop on many occasions where they don't like to be disturbed or interrupted and asked why this was OK.

Chief Jordon said he didn't know why this was the case and it may just be an isolated incident but the regulation is that no more than 2 officers may be allowed at a location without permission of their commander.

b) A resident of Glenview expressed his upset at the budgeting/financial management of the city when he (a post Proposition 13 household owner) was paying over $10,000 dollars of his $40,000 dollar income in property taxes to the city and feels it is being mismanaged.

City Administrator Santana responded that they are working on a 5 year budget and Mayor Quan stated that due to the housing crisis the revenue of the city has been down over $100+ million since 2008 but the $11 million increase this year, is going to the police academy as well as the consultant and computer systems innovative.

c) A business owner asked how Chief Jordan is still in a job after 10 years of disaster as Assistant Police Chief and now as Police Chief. The response by the Mayor and the City Administrator is that he has been doing a "great job" for the last two years.

d) Mr. Wasserman does not support curfews with arrests as a crime deterrent, but as a get youth where they should be with the help of their significant other.

e) Mr. Wasserman reported that Stop & Frisk is not illegal and this is used in other cities only when there is suspicion by the police officer and is very effective. It is not part of Mr. Battons plan.

f) Another resident noted that the population of Oakland is changing and asked if the panel is concerned or considering that African American population had dropped by 25% in some areas and the reduced income population had changed too.

g) A community college student asked how she could help as she sees crime at her school in Oakland and was advised to learn how the police department by volunteering for the department and sign up for their 13 week volunteer academy. The city also has 1000 jobs for youth for the summer.

My Impressions (skip this part if you are not interested in my opinion) <-- Lady who shared her notes. Not the opinion of OaklandWiki

1. Libby Schaaf is a great organizer for her district.

2. There were about 200 people at the meeting, but people are not happy with the mayor: many left when she took the mike for extensive periods during the Q&A session at the end of the meeting and few questions got answered because of this.

3. Noel Gallo attended but contributed nothing, considering he is on the Safety Council [Public Safety Committee].

4. The Mayor is in campaign mode.

5. I really like the idea of real community policing and geographical policing - cops on the beat knowing the members and residents of the community and staying in the neighborhoods, but I thought this was something Oakland supposedly had before now, but it was from what Mr. Wasserman said and my experience not so.

6. Great ideas, lots of "rah-rah" information and pandering to the community, I really hope that some of the ideas stick and work and the OPD will make the necessary changes and not squander money and opportunity this around.

7. With approximately 650 sworn officers in Oakland, only about 240 of those are beat cops.
On any given shift (assuming no officers are sick or on special assignment the whole of the city of Oakland is policed by AT THE MOST 35 police officers.

This means that only about 5% of our police department is on the street at any one time [and that is on a good day] and only 1/3 will ever be seen policing the street.
If we double our number officers we would only see another 35 officers on the street (and currently I'm lucky if I see a police car drive down my street on a given day) Don't we need some reorganization???
Why when we are so short of officers on the streets and have no officers to respond to 911 calls do we have so many officers attending meetings. 20+ Officers at the Glenview town hall, 6 officers at a recent NCPC meeting when our beats are so short staffed. Lets send one officer to the meeting and send the rest out to respond to 911 please.

8. Sorry for the mistakes, spelling and grammar errors in my emails, I write them with the best intention but my time is often limited so forgive my blunders.

Media coverage

For media coverage there were several TV vans/cameras there and It was reported on KPIX (Channel 5) news. NBC has a label on their van but the other two did not.

Check out what their opinion was.

Communication regarding the new Safe Oakland / Public Safety innovative by the city

Your opinion is important and with the budgeting process about to begin for the next 5 years it is really important to have your voice heard. Few people take the time to have their voice heard and it is your city. Express your concerns to our city council and have your voice heard.

1. fightcrime@oaklandn et.com

2. www.oaklandnet. com/police

3. www.engageOakland. com



  1. "Robert Wasserman to Speak at Safe Oakland Speaker Series" 2/7/2013, Holy Names University
  2. NextDoor.com's Lower Rockridge/Fairview Park S. email group (closed); source Michael Kilian