Oakland, the city with California’s highest violent crime rate, is again in search of a top cop after Police Chief Anthony Batts announced his resignation, saying a burdensome “bureaucracy” left him without enough power to fight crime and build community trust in his department, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Batts, a charismatic leader who sought to bring Oakland into step with a trend toward data-driven policing, was hired in 2009 by then-Mayor Ron Dellums, seven months after four city police officers were gunned down. He said he took the job because of the tragedy and he quickly won over many residents.
Batts never firmly planted himself in Oakland. He applied for the chief’s job in San Jose last year, remaining in Oakland after an internal candidate was tapped for the job. Batts announced his resignation a week after the City Council set aside three crime-fighting proposals he had supported and amid warnings from a judge that the federal courts could take over the Police Department. Moreover, Batts’ views were often in conflict with those of Mayor Jean Quan, who was elected in November, and several council members. “I found myself with limited control, but full accountability,” said Batts, 50, a former police chief in Long Beach. He is considering a position with Harvard University.