Is Anthony Batts Coming to San Jose to Escape Trouble in Oakland?

Anthony Batts has only been the Oakland police chief for a year, which has prompted speculation as to why he is interested in coming to fill San Jose’s open position in the midst of a three-year contract he just signed. Batts is one of two finalists being considered by City Manager Debra Figone to become San Jose’s next police chief; acting chief Christopher Moore is the other.

A report by Ali Winston, a producer for KALW Radio in Oakland, suggests Batts might want to come here because Oakland faces a real threat of having its police department placed under federal receivership. The result would be a black eye on Batts’ mostly sterling record, despite his brief tenure in overseeing a department that was battling a multitude of issues well before his arrival.

Winston reports that a Negotiated Settlement Agreement signed in 2003, and originally designed to expire in 2008, has had the department under the watchful eye of independent monitor Robert Warshaw, a former assistant police chief in Miami. Reports from Warshaw, submitted to U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson, continue to state the OPD is failing in its obligations to clean up its act following the infamous “Riders” scandal—which included allegations of police brutality and evidence planting—more than a decade ago.

The next report from Warshaw is expected to come this month, and attorneys representing more than 119 plaintiffs who filed suit against the city of Oakland for pervasive police misconduct said in a recent court filing that the OPD is unlikely to meet its goals and obligations once again.

Judge Henderson seems to agree with this assumption, according to a court filing he wrote in December.

“It is difficult to imagine that Defendants’ promises of substantial compliance in a few short weeks are grounded in reality,” Henderson wrote, adding that Batts should shoulder some of the blame.

“For example, the Court’s review of a use-of-force incident brought to the Court’s attention by the Monitor — who uncovered a video recording made by an officer’s lapel camera during a random audit of internal affairs investigations—highlights potential problems not only with compliance with particular tasks but also with the culture of the Department, up to and including the Chief of Police, who concurred with the investigative finding that the force was not excessive and minor discipline was appropriate only for the use of profanity.”

The OPD has said it is optimistic it will meet its timeline for reform on deadline, if given cooperation from the independent monitor’s office. The OPD’s attorneys argue in court filings that there are key differences in interpreting the independent monitor’s definitions regarding oversight, and that the department has also been hamstrung in meeting expectations due to heavy cutbacks in staffing.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

24 Comments

  1. “The tough get going…”

    I question Chief Batt’s decision to leave Oakland PD after such a short stay.  What does that say about the integrity of his commitments.  Will he also consider leaving SJPD before the job is done and he has made his mark? 

    Chief Batts has impressive credentials, but in my mind he hasn’t been in Oakland long enough.  His short tenure there leaves me wondering what he will do when the going gets tough.

  2. @Paul Moore,

    Batts had nothing to do with Oakland’s police layoffs. He fought them. The Oakland City Council, in a 5-3 vote. Mayor Quan was a strong supporter of the layoffs and of a non-viable ballot measure ($365/year parcel tax in a recession) to re-fund OPD. 

    Don’t blame Tony Batts for the layoffs.  Absolutely not his fault.

  3. Folks in Oakland are seeing this as one of he first stumbles of their new Mayor, elected by Ranked Choice Voting where a looser can become a winner.  Quan didn’t get majority support of the voters, the first time in over 60 years.

    With her anti-police stance and extreme positions on policing (it’s not the criminal’s fault, it’s society), many beleive this is the first of many problems Oakland will soon face..

  4. Thanks Paul Moore for your excellent summary

    Chief Batts is another in very long line hired government guns from out of town moving to next higher paycheck in San Jose. 

    Each time political power changes at City Hall ( Hammer, Gonzales, now Reed ) they hire there own loyal City Manager who replaces existing City Hall management with questionable loyalty,  like Chief Davis who stood up to City Manager before Council

    Batts knows that Oakland Chief’s job is career damaging disaster unless he moves quickly, so is highly motivated

    His 3 year contract, probably because of doubts about job, allows him to leave at anytime as well as he can be let go anytime

    Mayor Reed already has Council votes and public’s support due to public’s known reluctance to vote higher taxes ( See voter polls that prefer service cuts vs higher taxes )

    Batts already knows that, unless POA gives back 10 -15% or more this year in pay and higher pension contributions, police layoffs will occur with or without him

    If Batts leaves, all 3 large Bay area cities will have new Police Chiefs in 2011, so look for more San Jose senior officers to leave for new Chief jobs followed by more police officers

  5. He may be fleeing something in Oakland, but he is also th perfect selection to be City Manager Figone’s “hired gun.” She has stated that could “police the City of San Jose with 970 officers.” She commissioned the City Auditor to study the problem and come up with ways to achieve that number through attrition, layoffs and demotions.  She is currently on the record as threatening to layoff up to 200 police officers on July 1, 2011 if they do not accept a 10% pay cut.

    Batts is the Chief in Oakland and recently oversaw the laying off of 80 Oakland Police Officers. He went to OPD from Long Beech and had no institutional ties to Oakland or its staff – laying off strangers is much easier than laying of people you have spent your career with.

    Chief Moore would have a very tough time laying anyone at SJPD off as they are like family.
    He spent his entire career there.

    Batts would potentially be hired in early February knowing full well that his job will be to obtain the 10% cut or layoff up to 200 strangers on July 1.He could come in do the dirty work and move on to the next town to do whatever he is asked. Plus anyone who gives him grief for carrying out whatever marching orders Figone hands him will be silenced when they are labelled a racist.

    • Batts didn’t have anything to do with the loss of 80 officers.  The Union refused to sign a pay give back to save the officers jobs.  The Union wanted a three year contract with the city.  In the contract they wanted a promise of NO more loss of officers and they would give back the pay. (Cannot blame the officers) Oakland lost 80 officers and guess what?  They are going to lose more.  The city was not willing to sign a stop/loss of officers.  Once again the city was not doing business in good faith.
          Oakland was just a little smarter than San Jose.  The police union (San Jose) gave money back to keep employees and guess what?  They will still be losing more employees.  San Jose officers pay 20+ percent towards their retirement. They paid higher rates for medical just to mention a few of the give backs.  The reward for working with the city.  NOTHING

  6. I think it would be a real shame to hire someone from outside the department when someone on the inside knows the policies and procedures…and this city, inside and out. I cannot even imagine her making that mistake.

    • Dear SJ Citizen,

      Ms. Figone has no loyalty to the city or its citizen’s.  She lives outside the city and would not blink an eye to layoff as many officers as she can, since it doesn’t effect her own personal safety.  The mayor thinks that the 8 homicides this year is an aberration, think again.  Without specialized units such as the Violent Crimes Enforcement Unit (VCET), which was cut, smaller numbers in the METRO Unit, and fewer patrol officers to proactively “hunt” for the criminal element, the violent crime rate is going to skyrocket, especially when summer rolls around.

  7. Truth and Max Allstadt.

    OK then, If I understand Truth’s take is that Oakland’s Mayor and City Council and OPD’s union couldn’t reach an agreement which resulted in the layoff of 880 OPD officers. Max A’s take is that Batts was opposed to the layoffs and fought them.

    I have been reading a number of blogs and news reports from july-august’10 – my sense from the coverage is that Batts WAS opposed to the layoffs and to quote a number of blogs:  “sided with the OPD Union.”  In the aftermath of the cuts observers say that Batts came to OPD as the “man with a plan” to reform the department and effectively fight crime for the betterment of all. His “plan” was not viable with staffing before the cuts and he estimated he needed a minimum of 925 officers to implement his strategy. What he got was 80 fewer than he started with… and no way to implement his plan.

    SO my question is after his experience in Oakland, Why Would Batts ever consider coming to San Jose? He was in Oakland for nearly a year when the layoffs were sprung on him and the department. Batts and the officers he “sided with” lost. 

    If he were hired in SJ it would be in the next 2-3 weeks KNOWING FULL WELL that the person Hiring him (City Manager Figone) is making plans to lay off up to 200 officers effective July 1, 2011 (five months after he is hired)! Batts knows full well that at least half of the “committee” approving him (the City Council lead by Mayor Chuck Reed incl: Constant, Oliverio,  Liccardo, Chu —not sure where Kalra, Herrera Pyle Nguyen or Campos stand)are will approve layoffs if SJPD’s union does not agree to a 10% salary/benefit cut!

    Figone and Reed have accepted the City Auditors report – and Batts MUST be aware of this—-  that they commissioned detailing how to restructure SJPD in the aftermath of mass layoffs plus further staffing reductions caused by attrition do to anticipated retirements. One goal of the restructuring is to maintain the current level of service with fewer staff… that is maintain the current level of service with as many as 200 fewer officers!!!! (SJPD patrol division responds to more than 1000 calls for service on average EVERY DAY!!!). If Batts has a “plan” for SJPD like he had for Oakland IT IS DOA.

    Batts is seeking a job to oversee SJPD knowing all of this and knowing that just like in Oakland he can side with the officers and oppose the cuts BUT that his sentiments won’t amount to anything when it comes time for the CM and Council to implement the cuts. Why would he do that? It doesn’t make sense and doesn’t square up with the scenario that exists.

    It is really easy to say, “I’m against laying off the officers,”  when the decision to do it belongs to someone else.  I mean Reed and Figone say essentially the same thing: “gee we don’t want to do it but unless the POA makes cuts we have no choice.”  Just like Mayor Quan said, “We don’t want to lay anyone of but we have no choice…”

  8. I just read the below quote in the Mercury News from self-annointed Raj Jayadev, “a city community activist”. It is disgusting and racist, and that this guy is given a free pass is a disgrace.

    “Jayadev was one of the few to say that Batts would have a clear advantage as a black man….Nothing against Moore, but it would be a bad indication in 2011 to have another white man.’‘

    Why, why, why, do we turn our heads to statement like this and pretend it is not totally racist on its face? Why is Jayadev looked as as being a progressive community activist, when his statement would make the KKK proud if you substituted black man for white man in the above statement?

    This guy should have zero credibility.

  9. Steve,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. Raj is quoted by bias medias like the Merc because he is seen as the best place to go for a controversial quote on SJPD, or it’s Chief. Who knows, may be he’s even on their Editorial Board.

    Havin said that, I support Acting Chief Moore because he has done an excellent job of working with minority groups in San Jose. He attends ALL the community meetings, regardless of who is sponsoring them because he cares.

    “Victor Garza, head of the La Raza Roundtable, said he supported Moore because the acting chief had been so responsive.I believe Chris Moore can create trust with the community because he has done that with La Raza, he sees the value of attending our meetings and responds to us every time we call him.”

    http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_17171770?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com

    Chief Moore is the ONLY Police Chief I’ve seen ride the Freedom Train in the past 5 years. The African American Community riding the Freedom Train very well received him, and the children loved talking to him, and getting the SJPD stars he handed out on the Train. (Please note: The Mercury News is the ONLY media that DID NOT do a story on the Freedom Train. The one SMALL blurb they did on it in their calendar was full of misinformation.)

    “San Jose Freedom Train Celebrates Life Of Martin Luther King Jr.”

    “San Jose’s acting police Chief Chris Moore said that he rode the Freedom Train for the first time three years ago, but that Monday was his first time riding the train in uniform.

    He said the experience was fun, but more than that, it was symbolic of the struggles of all people who have had to fight for their civil rights.

    “My mother was raised in San Jose,” Moore said. “She grew up at a time when her best friend, who was Japanese, was shipped off to an internment camp. So it’s important to support efforts like this.”

    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011/01/17/san-jose-freedom-train-celebrates-life-of-martin-luther-king-jr/

    I think it is inexcusable that the Mercury News quotes Raj who makes racist, bigoted statements, but hides the ones made by Jethroe Moore. If it weren’t for the Metro, we’d never known that Jethroe Moore called the SJPOA, Nazis and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Association, Jews, last year when he and Raj boycotted the Freedom Train for accepting practical funding for the train from the SJPOA.

    Further, I have to wonder if the Mercury News has relevant information on Chief Batts that they are not disclosing. They seem to accidentally on purpose forget to add serious information, or skew stats, when they are pushing their own agenda. Hopefully, the Metro will follow up on Chief Batt’s background and fill us in on anything that seems to be missing.

    • Kathleen, love your comments, but what you are missing in your analysis is that everyone in San Jose is in a minority community. Raj Jayadev made that point, too, in his remarks quoted in the Merc, that San Jose is a majority/minority city.  You point out, “I support Acting Chief Moore because he has done an excellent job of working with minority groups in San Jose.”

      But what can you point to with regard to his working with the minority white community?  Plenty of white people here have some pretty heart-rending stories about police abuse, and I don’t know of any outreach Moore has done to that minority community.  What’s up with that?

      The minority white community has not heard from Batts yet, either, but I would rather have an African-American police chief who would treat white people with respect than a white police chief who would treat white people like dirt.

      • Minority White Community,

        Where did you get the idea that the “white community” is a minority? African Americans represent 2% and Latinos are 36%.

        Chief Moore has worked with all groups. If you attended the same community meetings I have you’d see that. He doesn’t discriminate against anyone of any race.

        BTW_ Raj’s groups have white people in them. I see them at Council Meetings and community meetings crying foul on the SJPD all the time.

  10. What! You mean Debra Figone’s girlfriend in Palos Verde with her “Home International Executive Search” business and her second fee of $40,000.00 has found her man. Wow, a Nationwide extensive search using her husband, a Nationally Known Police Chief who worked directly with President Clinton and has an excellent record, found their man within a “Toll Free Phone Area”. Now like your Fire Chief, he’s a bit of a “Rolling Stone” that has never collected much Moss. Now people be aware that if you go to the City Cafeteria, with your list of life’s experiences one night a week for four hours for 18 months, the City will pay for your BA Degree, Masters Degree and MBA Degree from real Universities that you have never attended. The Federal Government has these bogus types of schools that you go to for a couple weeks, get some cool handouts and come home with a Federal Law Enforcement Title. People are still getting sucked in by this bogus nonsense.

    What you have here is a choice between the deliberate “Movie Star Photo” Guy or the Photo that makes Batts look silly. Who do you think made that decision? You see the bottom line is neither man is fit and it cost you $40,000.00 to Figone’s friend on her way to establishing her business. Chris, the movie Star, who considers himself and advertises himself as an “International Expert “on Police Ethics. Yet after 28 years with San Jose you have one of the most “Unethical” Police Departments next to Tijuana. He is responsible for setting in place a process (using the technicalities of the law) (since he’s an Attorney) to lawfully block any information regarding Police Criminality from the Public. You get the stats he supplies. Of course you don’t get the stats for non San Jose Citizen arrests and beatings, they accidentally lost them in the City of San Jose Records Computers, the same one that lost your Vice Mayor’s emails. So you get bogus numbers ,yet you still see short cops shooting off peoples noses and one officer who has killed two people in a six month period, one he claims he was trying to “Save”.

    Try to get some information from The Independent Police Auditor (a cop’s Judge at $169,000.00 a year and the right to Moonlight at $5000.00 a case throughout the State) She claims she needs the money because she gets no pension after 20 years as a Judge on the Public Dole, but that’s another sad story. Try to reach her at her office sometime or go to her City Web Site and try to decipher her Mini State Bar Exam Web page for victims. Don’t forget the admonition she just hast to give as you go to sign your complaint “Now you realize that if we unfound your complaint, the officer and the powerful SJPOA will sue you, are you sure you want to sign it”? Of course don’t forget that the prior President of The San Jose Police Department stated he had “A Snitch” in the IPA Office and his wife worked in Internal Affairs at the Police Department. That’s like having the police Department call you in advance and tell you, hey officer, we will be looking for a bloody night stick and a fired gun. Yea, Chris , who will be fifty in two years and have his 30 in for retirement at 90%, and 3% a year should think seriously about pulling out now with a “Vested ” retirement that he can pull later if the City’s Potential Bankruptcy comes along in July. Dianne Urban is the real choice but has no Chief experience, but she is a SCOUT SNIPER, hence if Batts fails she will go from Captain to Chief in just a couple of months or Figone’s friend will get another $40,000.00 Win Win. She is also very controllable, like with strings. Did you know Figone can hand out contracts up to $1,000,000.00 without oversight, that’s what we were told when we challenged the $40,000.00 Police Search. Oh well it’s your Tax Dollars.

    Batts, aside from the silly photo put up for him, is not qualified at all, isn’t really a contender and would just derail what’s left of your Security Guard Police Force. You really need an Independent Civilian Review Board and to contract with the County for your Law Enforcement needs.

  11. Sorry….please post here:

    You don’t have to look any further than Oakland PD for your answers. I don’t know who these unknown Batts supporters are in the department, but for every one of them there are 50 cops who can’t wait for him to leave. He has done nothing truly significant for the department and is seen as a coward by many on the inside. He has refused to address his troops as he knows what that got him the last time he did so…thrust right into the limelight for his failure to lead the department. He did not fight for the jobs of the 80 cops that got laid off at all, although he told his troops he would do so only two days before the layoffs. Our loss will be your loss also. If you were to anonymously speak to most cops at OPD they would tell you to please take him off of our hands. I would assume that Batts did not do much more at Long Beach PD than ride the wave of success of his former Chief and afterwards take credit for it. He is taking credit for a decreased crime rate in Oakland although all Oakland has done is follow a national trend of crime reduction and not an ounce more. Batts is scrambling to get out now that he sees that he can only cast smoke and mirrors for so long as their are already 8 homicides in Oakland as compared to 2 the same time last year. Bon Voyage Batts….don’t let the door hit you…

  12. San Jose has paid former City Manager Jerry Newfarmer’s Management Partners over $1 million to ” shortly after Mayor Chuck Reed took office in 2007, he called on his city to eliminate the General Fund deficit altogether, over a three-year
    period. ” 

    So City of San Jose paid Management Partners $1 + million and we still have budget deficit,

    Taxes well spent ??

    http://www.managementpartners.com/newsletters/spring2008/SanJose.html

    Former City Manager Les White signed orginal contract and soon to be former City manager Deb Figone signed $ 3/4 million contract additions  

    Guess where Les went when he left and who will owe Deb when she leaves to make her next $2-3 million doing budget reduction ( union busting ) consulting with the old gang – Jerry, Larry, Kay, Les, etc

    http://www.managementpartners.com/bio/Winer, Kay LONG.pdf

    http://www.managementpartners.com/bio/LesWhite.pdf

    http://www.managementpartners.com/…/WHITE LONG WEB 0904.pdf

    Or maybe Deb who had a home in Los Gatos will join Les, Dan, Darryl, John at Avery Associates who has a long record of San Jose consulting and recruiting contracts

    http://www.averyassoc.net/Staff/Les_White.htm

    http://www.averyassoc.net/Staff/dan_mcfadden.htm

    Or maybe Deb, Les, Jerry and rest of San Jose former City Managers and deputies $135 – $260 retirement club will start their own consulting firm with Deb before she leaves outsource City Manager Office to ” San Jose City Managers Consulting ” firm

  13. I hope Chief Batts stays in Oakland. What does it say about him when he is so willing to break a 3 year contract he has with Oakland, because the going got tough. If he did just a little research before he came to Oakland, it shouldn’t be such a shock the city council and mayor give him no support. He is not going to get that much more support here. Our department will soon layoff a couple hundred officers. Does that mean he will bail on San Jose when he starts taking heat here, or is he being brought in for some other purpose? Chief Moore has devoted his entire career to San Jose. He deserves the first shot, especially since he is not going to bail and quit on his troops.