Some people thought it was only a matter of time until Anthony Batts would leave his post as Oakland’s chief of police following his public and unsuccessful bid to become the head of the San Jose Police Department. Those people were right.
Earlier this week, Batts decided to look for the door again, only this time there will be no uncomfortable homecoming. Batts offered the city of Oakland his resignation, which is expected to go into effect in about a month.
The competition to become San Jose’s chief of police in January became a contentious PR campaign as San Jose City Manager Debra Figone deliberated on who to select in a two-man race. Community activists lobbied hard for Batts’ hiring, while Moore had plenty of internal support. Moore was ultimately tabbed to stay on as chief after serving in an interim capacity. Batts returned to a department and community unsure of his long-term commitment.
In his resignation, Batts reportedly cited a lack of support from the city of Oakland, in resources as well as commitment to his tactics. The City Council declined to institute injunctions—curfew and strict loitering policies—Batts wanted to combat gang violence. Also, the number of people Batts reported to also rankled the chief.
Another possible reason for his resignation is the ongoing threat that the OPD will be placed under federal receivership, putting the department under federal control. This would be a significant black eye on any chief’s resume, especially for Batts, who many view as an up-and-comer in public safety circles. By leaving now, Batts retains a solid reputation and might even be remembered as a chief who refused to be put in a position where success was unlikely.
Meanwhile, Chief Moore has had to deal with the first-ever layoffs of officers in San Jose’s history, while the murder rate has soared compared to recent years.
It’s impossible to say for sure, but how do you think things would be different here in San Jose had Batts been selected over Moore? Would it be better, worse, the same?
Editor’s Note: Chief Moore was scheduled to answer reader questions for our Q&A series last week. Due to recent events, the answer portion has been delayed. We hope to run those answers soon. On Thursday, Chief Moore sent this message to San Jose Inside:
“I greatly appreciate your patience in awaiting my answers to the community’s questions. It has been an extremely busy and turbulent week for our department. In the past few days, we have investigated three officer involved shootings (two of which involved SJPD personnel), as well as a double homicide. Understandably, I have been focusing much of my time on these matters. Thank you again for the opportunity to interact with the public.”