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Batts to remain police chief of Oakland

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said Friday he would stay with the city of Oakland.

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts announced this morning that he will continue to lead the department of the crime-battered city, after telling reporters last week that he could not commit to staying in Oakland long-term because of what he said was lack of support for police from City Hall.

Batts, who has been Oakland’s police chief for 15 months, said in a statement that he decided to stay in the position after engaging in numerous conversations with Mayor Jean Quan and other city officials.

“I want to thank the Mayor, City Administrator and other City officials. They have said they understand the needs of the police officers who work diligently for the residents of Oakland, and are willing to work with me to address those needs,” Batts said in the statement released Friday.

Batts, 50, was one of two finalists to become chief of police in San Jose, but last week news broke that city officials there recommended Chris Moore, who has been San Jose’s acting police chief, be hired. He applied for the job last October but didn’t tell Oakland officials about it until several weeks ago.

Batts said last week that he was concerned about the lack support and resources being provided to the Oakland Police Department.

During the past week, the agency’s radio dispatch system has failed several times, once during a high speed chase and another during an undercover drug bust. Police have said the problems with the system show how much the department is in need of technological and equipment upgrades.

Quan announced Monday that the city will rehire 10 of the 80 police officers the city laid off last July to help balance its budget. That will leave Oakland with 666 officers.

Batts said he has received an outpouring of support from officials and residents in Oakland who encouraged him to stay after he announced his candidacy for the San Jose job. “The support I received was overwhelming. I know the residents and employees of Oakland care about this City and its Police Department,” he said.

Now he said he is “ready to roll up his sleeves and get back to work.”

Contact Jennifer Courtney at jcourtney@californiabeat.org.

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