Oakland’s Police Foundation… Waiting for a BattSignal

Oakland’s Police Foundation… Waiting for a Batt Signal

By Ken O

In today’s SJMerc, columnist Tammerlin Drummond reflects on our new OPD Chief after the  unveiling of his 5-year strategy last week.  Mainly, Chief Batts won’t give up trying to improve Oakland policing and community engagement without a good attempt. Anyone would applaud that.

Then Chief Batts says something odd.  He wants to “start a foundation” to support OPD’s mission and better the city.

“Batts said he is also considering starting a foundation for the police department to help it raise funds. He realizes that in these days of budget shortfalls, possibilities are slim to none that there will be additional resources coming from the city. He will have to be creative.”

Back in 2008, I was reaching out to members of Oakland’s existing Oakland Police Foundation.  They have an existing pot of money, which I explained at a meeting I held for interested community members at Rockridge Library that year, and were not currently doing anything that I could see.  I hope that with this new MVP police chief on board, the existing OPF will raise its head above water and come out of Lake Merritt to play.

And of course I mean that in a friendly fairytale dragon way, not in a dead police horse somebody found in the lake once way, and definitely not in a swim across the lake to escape from the police way. (Man, who would swim in Merritt’s Lake? Good exercise though.)

If the existing Oakland Police Foundation will not rise to the occasion I am happy to create a second, publicized and working OPF to breathe more life into this city. However, that won’t be needed.

In the end, Batt’s call is not odd at all.  The old OPF structure never got off the ground, never publicized itself, and nobody knew about it.  I don’t remember how I found out about it.  As of today I have confirmed that OPD is actively working on the matter.

It is highly likely we will all see and hear about the OPF sometime this year, in traditional media. I’m on this and will keep you posted.

Other News

In unrelated news, Fruitvale will have its own police sub-station soon. I hope it is more like the occupied Eastmont sub-station and less like Temescal’s unoccupied sub-station.  The Japanese style ko-ban (many local police boxes) is a good supplement to regular police stations.

Even less relevant news: the Oakland Raiders may move to City of Industry if a rich SoCal land tycoon has his way. Our Governor has already signed off on the project.  Read about it in this month’s issue of Bloomberg Markets. (This may be old news, I don’t know what you guys know.)

Photo: Lacy Atkins / The Chronicle

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