Oakland Crime Reduction Project
Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations
May 8, 2013
The Bratton Group, LCC, in conjunction with the Strategic Policy Partnership, has
been working with the Oakland Police Police Department (OPD) on improving its
Compstat crime management and command accountability system and on
reorganizing its investigative functions to respond more effectively to homicides,
shootings, robberies, and burglaries. These reforms are an important component in
the larger effort to move the OPD to a Neighborhood Policing Plan, with the city
divided into five districts, each commanded by a captain. The key to this new
district-based structure is geographic accountability for each captain – and for their
subordinate lieutenants, sergeants, and officers – for a specific area of the city with
its specific crime and disorder problems, its familiar community members, and, to a
significant degree, its specific cast of criminal characters. Under the Neighborhood
Policing Plan, the district captains will be the principal crime fighters in the
Department, each taking responsibility for crime in their respective districts and
each held accountable for designing and directing responses and strategies to
counter crime conditions. So far the OPD has established two districts in East
Oakland with three more planned for the western part of the city.
The Neighborhood Policing Plan is a long-term effort to rebuild the service delivery
and crime-fighting capabilities of the OPD after years of attrition that have reduced
OPD headcount by about 25 percent. The OPD is working to add police officers, but
the current staffing shortfalls make it all the more important that the Department
deploys and manages its resources effectively now. The management and structural
reforms recommended here are part of a blueprint for focusing the OPD’s crime
fighting efforts at the local or district level. The Compstat crime management system
is being revamped into a more effective accountability tool, providing a relentless
focus on responding to and resolving local crime and police service problems. In a
key structural reform, the recommended establishment of decentralized District
Investigation Units (DIUs), will give the district captains an investigative resource to
help them in their efforts to counter and control local crime.
The Compstat Process
The Compstat Process is a paradigm-shifting approach to police management. It is an
accountablity tool, a training tool, a motivational tool, and a crime analysis tool. Its
fundamental purpose is to keep key police managers – including chiefs, district
captains, investigative supervisors, and special unit commanders – sharply focused on
the central police responsibilites of responding to and controlling crime. The heart of
the process is a series of regularly scheduled crime strategy meetings where a police
department’s top management and its field managers engage in tough, probing
sessions about current crimes and the plans and tactics to counter them. The Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
recommedations listed below are intended to strengthen OPD’s existing Compstat
process and have been implemented in the past two months.
• The Compstat Process as previously practiced in Oakland was more of a report
or a presentation by a captain than the system of vigorous strategic oversight.
Compstat should be an intensive and probing dialogue between the
department’s top commanders and its field managers, including patrol,
investigations and special unit commanders.
• The former Compstat presentations were too general and did not deal with
crime specifics. The exchanges at Compstat should be focused on the specifics of
crime patterns and individual crimes and the measures being taken to counter
• As formerly practiced, Oakland’s Compstat did not have a true primary
questioner pressing for answers to the critical questions about specific crime
problems. The department’s primary questioner should study, and be
conversant with, the current crime picture and should be ready to ask a series of
follow-up questions to ensure that every reasonable effort is being made, that
every solid lead is being followed, and that the Department’s various
components are responding swiftly to emerging crime patterns and problems.
• The captains and other field managers at Compstat were not being held
accountable for knowledge of crime in a designated district. Captains,
investigative commanders and special unit commanders should all be expected
to come to the meeting with a thorough familiarity with the crime patterns and
crime conditions in their areas of responsibility, which is achieved by reading
the incident reports about individual crimes.
• Under the existing process there was no sense of coordination, information
sharing or support from the centralized Criminal Invesigation Division (CID).
• Compstat meetings should be firmly under the control of the primary questioner
who drives the process forward and keeps it focused on the specific crime
problems and the plans to counter these problems.
• The primary questioner, not the reporting captain, should control and direct the
electronic maps and screens.
• Captains will be expected to be fully conversant with their crime problems,
having accurate, timely information by reading and understanding all Part I
• Expanded participation and input will be expected from investigative
supervisors at every level in the Department, who should be prepared to
describe in detail the response of their investigative units to current crime
incidents and patterns, to report on the status of all but the most sensitive active
investigations, and to share information about successful strategies.
• The Compstat Report should be a succinct summary of crime and enforcement
activity, showing trends in the previous two- and four-week periods, as well as Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
year-to-date comparisons, that can be used as a departure point for Compstat
• Working from the Compstat Report, the primary questioner should engage the
district captain and other relevant supervisors concerning any spikes or trends
in the crime numbers, paying particular attention to spikes in killings and
shootings, and questioning them on their plans to deal with these issues, i.e., the
development of effective tactics.
• All Department chiefs and captains should be present at all Compstat meetings,
except in cases when other important business calls them away. Compstat
should be seen as one most important regular activities taking place in the
• In addition to general questioning about current crime trends, the primary
questioner should pursue a series of regular lines of questioning at the Compstat
o Hot Spots – What is being done to correct conditions at various hot-spot
o Calls for Service – Are calls for service up or down, and if up, why are they
spiking? Consider highlighting the top five locations for repeat calls in
each district. Why are police continually called there? What is the
underlying problem? Are we wasting valuable resources?
o Enforcement – What is happening with arrests and other enforcement
activity? Why are some officers in a given district very productive while
others are not? Are we making arrests in the right places and for the right
reasons? Are officers being properly directed by their supervisors
towards areas where crime is spiking?
o Warrants – What is the progress on executing Ramey warrants and other
warrants such as bail jumping, failure to appear, and parole warrants?
The number of Ramey warrants should be broken down by district, and
this information provided to each district captain and to the CID captain.
The district captains should be questioned about what is being done to
capture these suspects.
o Measures of Evidence Gathering and Processing – When Bratton Group
recommendations concerning the tracking of crime scene work are
implemented, Compstat should include a recap of crime scene runs and
lab submissions from supervisors assigned to these functions. This would
cover the number of runs responded to, the number of locations
fingerprinted, the number of ballistics and DNA submissions, etc.
o Ceasefire – How many Ceasefire individuals called to a call-in reside in a
district? How many accepted service? How many in/out of jail? How
many have been injured? How many have been victims of crime
themselves? How many are wanted for a crime?
o Persistent Quality-of-Life issues – What are the quality-of-life issues that
are most problematic for the community? What are we doing about them?
Members of the Bratton Group team worked intensively with Assistant Chief
Eric Bershears to help prepare him for his role as the primary Compstat Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
questioner and participated in the Compstat meetings conducted on the new
model. They also assisted in revising the Compstat Report.
District Investigation Units (DIUs)
The recommended establishment of District Investigation Units will decentralize the
investigation of most robberies, burglaries, and shootings. The DIUs will report to the
district captains, giving the captains an investigative resource that can respond swiftly
to crime victims and crime scenes and pursue investigations through to arrest.
• Centralized investigations conducted by the Criminal Investigation Division
(CID) have not been successful in countering the growing robbery and burglary
problems in Oakland.
• Major Crimes Section 1 of CID, which investigates homicides, gun assaults,
suspicious deaths, and officer-involved shootings, has too large of a workload to
effectively investigate shootings, many of which are closed without further
investigation because of uncooperative victims.
• For a number of reasons, centralized robbery investigators working for Major
Crimes Section 2, are slow to respond to robberies and interview victims, losing
momentum on the investigation of pattern robberies.
• Effectively, burglaries are not investigated in the City of Oakland with only one
part-time investigator assigned to more than 10,000 burglaries last year.
• Increased camera monitoring of commerical areas throughout the city would
provide significantly more leads in robberies and burglaries and in some
• Reduce the workload of Major Crimes Section 1 to homicides and grievous
assaults from which the victim is likely to die by assigning gun assaults for
investigation at the district level.
• Assign most robberies and non-gun assaults for investigation at the district level.
• Assign burglaries for investigation at the district level.
• Establish District Investigation Units (DIUs) in each of the five districts to
investigate robberies, burglaries, and assaults/shootings.
• Assign experienced investigative sergeants to manage the DIUs. These sergeants
would be responsible for all investigative activity in the districts and would
represent district investigations at Compstat.
• Assign three experienced investigators and three to four police officers to each
DIU, pairing experienced investigators with officers with less experience.
• Assign each investigator/police officer team to one of three specialties: robbery,
burglary, or assaults/shootings.
• Establish staggered schedules for DIU to ensure a working presence by
investigators in the afternoon and evening hours seven days a week. Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
• Have DIU investigators respond to crime scenes, interview victims, canvass for
witnesses, gather evidence and identify crime patterns, modus operandi, and
repeat criminals active in the district.
• As the DIU system is established, use the DIUs as an investigator training ground
and career path, with officers moving in progression from police officer assigned
to a DIU, to a DIU lead investigator, to centralized CID and homicide
• Establish strictly observed case management protocols to provide guidelines for
DIU investigations, including updated Investigative Action Reports (IARs) at five
days, 15 days, and 28 days for each active case. The Bratton Group team has
prepared a sample case management system for adaption for use in Oakland.
• Significantly increase the camera monitoring capabilities of the OPD in
commercial areas throughout the city to provide identifications and evidence in
robbery, burglary and some shooting cases. Cameras would be monitored and
recorded at the Domain Awareness Center that is currently under construction.
For the DIUs to be optimally effective, OPD should implement reforms in the
management of evidence, changing some of the priorities and systems by which
evidence is gathered and analyzed.
• Crime scene technicians in Oakland work without direct supervision and
therefore with little systematic organization.
• The OPD’s digital photo file access, which could be a key tool in identifying
robbery suspects, is extremely slow and is rarely used in current robbery
• Fingerprint evidence gathered at burglary scenes is not generally used in
burglary investigations or submitted for comparisons by the Automated
Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).
• More extensive and timely analysis of shell casings found at the scenes of
shootings and other crimes could provide stronger evidence in assault cases,
connecting guns to both specific crimes and specific gangs.
• Assign a supervisor, preferably a sergeant, to manage crime scene technicians
and establish a systematic dispatch protocol that both prioritizes and tracks all
crime scene runs.
• Acquire a faster running digital photo system to access Alameda County’s
Consolidated Arrest Report System (CARs) so that photo arrays can be shown
expeditiously to robbery victims.
• Establish a new protocol for the processing of fingerprints from burglary scenes
so that prints in cases with other leads and/or in cases that have been linked a
pattern of burglaries can be submitted for expeditious AFIS comparisons. Hire
additional fingerprint analysts as needed to provide this service. Bratton Group Findings and Recommendations 5/8/13
• Increase the analysis of shell casings found at shooting scenes to link specific
weapons to specific crimes across geographical areas and periods of time. Hire
additional ballistic analysts as necessary to provide this service.