Oakland’s new police chief, Anthony Batts, is a 30-year veteran of the Long Beach, Ca., Police Department who is well regarded by rank-and-file officers and gained a reputation for his support of community policing, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said that under Batts’ leadership, the crime rate in Long Beach dropped to its lowest point since 1975.
Long Beach Vice Mayor Val Lerch said Batts restructured the department and deployed officers in a way that dramatically lowered crime. Lerch, the chairman of the City Council’s public safety committee, said Batts “surrounded himself with really, really good people and got out of their way and let them do their jobs.” Long Beach has roughly 91,000 more people than Oakland. Oakland’s crime rate is nearly three times higher than that of Long Beach, at 21 incidents per 1,000 residents. Oakland’s homicide rate is also about three times higher than Long Beach’s. The two cities have similar per capita officer ratios.