Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts wants $5-6 million from Washington, D.C., to place cops in four middle schools. The schools, Madison, Westlake, Roosevelt and Frick, would get six officers each. If successful, the program would spread to all of Oakland’s middle schools.
The goal of the program is to reduce involvement in gangs and criminal activity by strengthening “bonds between police and students," according to Troy Flint, a spokesman for the district. However, the program will do nothing to mitigate the main causes of youth crime and violence: poverty and a lack of activities and resources for youth. It does nothing to help struggling parents, or to secure housing, health care or nutrition for the children, nor will it address the overall crime, violence or gang activity in the communities.The cops may believe that their efforts will reduce community animosity toward the police and reduce acts of violence against police vehicles. However, as long as they continue to police poor communities like an occupying army, chances are that any gains will be short-lived.