Gone are the days of Officer Friendly walking the beat, twirling his baton down Broadway and stopping to pat little Johnny on the head.
“How are the Oakland Oaks looking this season, Johnny?”
“Gee, I don’t know, sir? But Jackie Jensen is the bee’s knees!”
Times have changed, however, but the Oakland Police Department as part of its plan to resorganize the city into five smaller policing districts, wants its officers to get out of their patrol cars and mingle with the citizenry.
According to KPIX, interim police chief Sean Whent believes once the residents forge better relationships with officers, the city’s high crime rate will fall.
Whent said the department also wants to “improve our relationship with the community” so that community members feel more comfortable talking with police officers and helping them solve crimes.
“As trust builds, cooperation increases,” he said.
Whent said he believes “there will be a significant crime reduction” by using the new system.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said, “I’m really excited” about the new system and said the city is “building a new Police Department” in which police work hard to develop better relationships with citizens.
“We want officers to slow down and smile,” Quan said.
However, it is not clear whether officers improving their personal contacts (taking into accounts very few actually live in Oakland) means shooting the breeze about last night’s ball game at taco truck in Fruitvale or merely putting boots on the grounds in a more confrontational style.
Capt. Kirk Coleman, who heads the East Oakland district leading to the San Leandro border, told KPIX, “We want to eliminate violent crime, including robberies” and he plans to increase bicycle and foot patrols because “‘we want to get up and personal’ with criminals.”
In the meantime, can somebody explain why Oakland police officers don’t wear caps?