‘Super-cop’ William Bratton and top brass shake-up at OPD

by Ann Garrison

Oakland had three acting police chiefs in five days last week, and on Thursday, the police department’s controversial consultant, William Bratton, released his six-page report which criticized OPD’s top brass.

OPD Chief Howard Jordan, consultant William Bratton press conf 030613 by Avila Gonzalez, SF ChronAt a press conference on Wednesday, Interim Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan announced his sudden decision to step down and seek medical retirement, effective immediately. In accordance with department procedure, Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio then took his place as acting chief, but for only two days.

On Friday former Deputy Chief Sean Whent became interim chief, and Toribio returned to captain’s rank. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan then announced that Oakland would spend $30,000 on a headhunter’s nationwide search for a permanent chief.

Three new deputy chiefs who share Interim Chief Whent’s experience in investigating OPD internal affairs were also named, leaving only one of the previous week’s top five commanders in place.

The Oakland Tribune reported that unnamed inside sources told them Jordan “raced for the door” because Thomas Frazier, the court appointed federal compliance officer brought in to clean up the department, planned to seek his ouster.

On Thursday, in between Jordan’s announcement and Whent’s appointment, the OPD officially released a report by its consultant, William Bratton, titled “Oakland Crime Reduction Project, Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations,” which said that the OPD must more rigorously apply his Compstat policing model to make it work and criticized top brass for not doing so.

No one seems to have reported that William Bratton, rather than federal compliance officer William Frazier, was behind this week’s sudden shakeup in the OPD chain of command. However, back on Jan. 22, the day that the Oakland City Council met and voted to contract with Bratton as an OPD consultant, Berkeley law professor Frank Zimring, who authored a book praising Bratton’s work in New York City, told KPFA Upfront Host Brian Edwards-Tiekert that Bratton would not be effective unless he was effectively in charge:

“The reason that you have an outsider coming in is that you have too many different perspectives. You’ve got a mayor, you’ve got a police chief, you are soon going to have a director of compliance with a long, ineffective consent decree. And everybody’s got to be on the same page.

“So the good news about a consultant would be if everybody wants to work with him. Then, it seems to me, Bratton’s credibility could be a real down payment towards changes in Oakland. If, on the other hand, it’s just going to be one more player with another set of perspectives, that’s the last thing Oakland needs.”

No Oakland officials have suggested that William Bratton, who is a former chief of both the New York City and Los Angeles police departments, might be recruited by Oakland’s headhunter, though popular Oakland blogger Zennie Abraham joked, on April Fool’s Day this year, that Bratton already has the top job.

Abraham was prescient at least regarding Interim Chief Howard Jordan’s imminent departure.

In 2009, Businessweek reported that Bratton had become chairman of Altegrity Risk International, a new division of Altegrity, a billion dollar company owned by the private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

Altegrity Risk International was created to bid on highly lucrative State Department contracts to help train police forces in 14 “post-conflict” nations, including East Timor, Haiti and Afghanistan. Bratton described this turn in his career as “like the Peace Corps but better paying.”

Bratton went on to become the CEO of Kroll Associates, a similar business, which has since been acquired by Altegrity. He later stepped down as Kroll’s CEO but remained as its senior advisor. He also serves as vice chair of the Advisory Council of the Homeland Security Department.

Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at ann@afrobeatradio.com. If you want to see Ann Garrison’s independent reporting continue, please contribute on her website at anngarrison.com.