Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan speakers to press at January 14 press conference, Photo by Abraham Hyatt, used w permission
Ninety percent of violent crime in Oakland during recent months has been committed by only two groups using guns brought in from outside California — and the city will not declare a state of emergency as a way to combat the violence.
That's according to Police Chief Howard Jordan and Mayor Jean Quan, who met with reporters in East Oakland today to talk about the spike in violence that left four dead on Friday and 11 others shot over the weekend.
Jordan would not say if the groups were gangs, but said that they're merging with other groups and "growing every week."
"We know who these guys are and we're focused on getting them," Jordan said. The OPD has arrested one man related to the recent violence and has a warrant out for one other person.
Both Jordan and Quan used the press conference to adamantly refuse to declare a state of emergency in Oakland. Doing so would allow the city to request additional law enforcement resources from the state; over the weekend Vice Mayor Larry Reid said it was time for the city to make that declaration.
But Jordan said that he's getting the same amount of support from local and regional law enforcement agencies as he would if the department made a formal declaration and request. Those agencies include the CHP, the city's Housing Authority Police and the Oakland School Police Department.
Jordan wouldn't say how many officers those agencies were supplying or how many additional officers would be on the streets this weekend. He stressed that his department was getting better at responding quickly to places where they think retaliatory shootings will occur following an attack.
"In some cases we're very successful and some we're not," he said.
The Oakland Police Department is down to around 613 sworn staff, its lowest level in 10 years. The department has two academies scheduled for this year. An academy that started last year will graduate on March 22; this year's first academy will start three days later.
Jordan estimated that due to typical attrition both within the department and within each academy, the OPD will have a net gain of 60-70 officers by the end of the year.
That will still leave the department 20% below where it was in 2009.