HNU Welcomes Community for Public Safety Forum


A full house at the Valley Center for the Peforming Arts

This month community members and city leadership gathered at Holy Names University to discuss public safety in Oakland.

“We want to welcome the leadership of the city and our community neighbors to Holy Names University,” said Vice President for University Advancement Richard Ortega to a standing-room-only audience of about 300 people. “We look forward to this event and other events as we celebrate Oakland, and, in our common interests, work together to create better lives.”

Robert Wasserman, a consultant to the Oakland Police Department, outlined his  suggestions for a crime reduction plan focused on neighborhood-based policing and community involvement. Mayor Jean Quan and Chief of Police Howard Jordan also participated in the event.

Robert Wasserman, consultant to the Oakland Police Department

Robert Wasserman, consultant to the Oakland Police Department

Wasserman emphasized a policing structure in which officers would work in particular geographic regions to increase police presence in neighborhoods and interaction with community members. He stressed the importance of strong neighborhood organizations and community involvement in police training. The downside of community policing is that officers may not be able to immediately respond to all requests. “In the best (policing) . . . , the community is brought into the process to be sitting there at the table as the problems of the neighborhood are discussed with the commander,” he said.

In addition to community policing, Wasserman said that there is a need for domestic homicide research and greater problem solving that assesses long-term problems. He called for sophisticated training for field officers, victim support, community orientation for new officers, increasing the age of new recruits, and other “best practices” to address crime issues in Oakland.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan

The February 10 event was the first in a speaker series addressing Oakland’s safety issues. The series is being organized by Oakland City Councilmember Libby Schaaf and will be hosted by Holy Names University.

“I think we would all agree that Oakland is a city worth fighting for—that every neighborhood, every resident, every family, every worker deserves to feel safe in this city,” Schaaf said.

For more information on the speaker series, click here.

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