OPD Chief Anthony Batts during happier times.
The resignation of Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts has shaken the foundation of Oakland City Hall and is likely to reverberate in the coming months as the city struggles to get a handle on its public safety issues.
Citing a serious problem with the city's bureaucracy, Batts announced Tuesday afternoon that he will step down as Oakland's police chief in "mid-to-late November."
Batts' departure has placed uncertainty around a number of key public safety intiatives and projects.
The resignation comes at a critical time for the city - Oakland is just days away from the highly publicized Public Safety Summit. The event - to be held at the Laney College gymnasium, 900 Fallon St. - is expected to attract more than 800 residents.
Batts in fact, played a major role in spearheading the summit and called it a critical milestone for the city. It's unclear if Batts will continue serving as one of the summit's leaders.
In addition, on Oct. 17, Oakland voter will begin sending in mail-in ballots regarding an $80 parcel tax measure, Measure I. Funds from the parcel tax is expected, in part, to go towards police services and police technology.
Batts also is stepping aside as the federal Negotiated Settlement Agreement issue is nearinga critical deadline, with the overseeing judge growing more impatient with the city's progress. The city has just three months to come into full compliance or the Oakland Police Department will face a possible federal takeover.
Oakland also is still reeling from the sharp jump in crime this year, with East Oakland impacted the most, but many high profile cases touching on many parts of the map. The city has seen 88 homicides this year.
In recent weeks, the city has received some public safety good news. In September, Oakland announced that it would receive $10.7 million of a $71 million U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Police Services grants. The money will allow the city to hire 25 officers in the coming months.
Oakland Council President Larry Reid said it's unclear what the impact of Batts' resignation will have on all of those issues.
"All of that's going to be interesting," he said. "The chief's resigning, the mayor this Saturday is having her public safety town hall meeting, we've got the whole issue around the Negotiated Settlement Agreement ... right now it's all up in the air."
Just one year away from completing his three-year contract, Batts tenure has been as up and down as Oakland's crime rate.
Batts is one of several City Hall executives that in recent months have left or is in the process of stepping aside. Walter Cohen, executive director of CEDA is turning in his last Oakland time card on Oct. 28. Dan Lindheim has been replaced by Deanna Santana, long time City Attorney John Russo resigned and Public Ethics Commission director Dan Purnell resigned in June.
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