Criminal Justice Conversations with David Onek: Anthony Batts, Oakland Police Chief

May 18, 2010

In Episode #12, Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts discusses his goals as Oakland's new Chief, the importance of working with the community, his efforts to reduce police response times, how his doctorate degree has helped him in his policing career, and more.

Batts Interview Highlights

Batts on His Goals for the Oakland Police Department:

“I’m trying to build a more efficient, productive, well-run, well-managed organization, which is polished, and professional, and highly ethical. And trying at the same time building a greater openness to our community, to listen to what the community is telling us, not for us to tell them what we want them to do, but to listen to them and turn their wishes and dreams into our imperatives that we’re going to complete.”

Batts on the Importance of Working with the Community:

“We really have to start coordinating better with the community as a whole and participating. Right now we don’t have police officers in uniform that go to neighborhood watch meetings. That’s where you get to talk to people, that’s where you get to break the barriers down. We don’t have police officers in uniform going to schools to do programs. Now people may say ‘that’s not what I hire police officers for’ but that’s where you break down those barriers and you build strong relationships.”

Batts on Earning a Doctorate Degree:

“I went back to get my doctorate in the 1990s. It was very demanding, it was very tough, especially being a single dad and trying to give the time that the kids needed at the same time of completing a research degree. But it has worked very well for me. I think I call on the experience I learned going through that on a daily basis and it allows me to look outside of what I know to bring in answers.”


The Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast with David Onek features in-depth, thirty-minute interviews with a wide range of criminal justice leaders: law enforcement officials, policymakers, advocates, service providers, academics and others.

The Podcast gets behind the sound bites that far too often dominate the public dialogue about criminal justice, to have detailed, nuanced conversations about criminal justice policy.

Podcast host David Onek is a Senior Fellow at Berkeley Law School and a former Commissioner on the San Francisco Police Commission.

You can find more information on the Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast and listen to all past episodes on the Podcast web site.

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