On Monday, Anthony Batts starts one of the toughest jobs in American law enforcement, taking over an Oakland, Ca., police department demoralized by its losses and distrusted by many it is charged to protect, the New York Times reports. The problems are complex: a city dealing with underperforming schools, an entrenched crack cocaine trade, deadly gangs, and a 17 percent unemployment rate.
The behavior of rogue officers a decade ago led to years of federal oversight, and the city continues to pay millions each year to settle police-related lawsuits. Batts's crime-fighting record is impressive. In seven years as the chief in Long Beach, Ca., he helped drive down the violent crime rate to its lowest level in nearly 40 years.