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Oakland Hires Former NYC Police Boss as Crime Consultant

Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Oakland, California, the fifth-most crime ridden city in America, hired former New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton as a law-enforcement adviser over objections from some residents that his previous policies led to racial profiling.

The Oakland City Council voted early today to approve a $250,000 contract to bring in Bratton as part of a consulting team to implement a short-term crime-fighting strategy and community safety plan.

Oakland, the state’s eighth-largest city with 396,000 residents, saw a surge in crime last year, with murders rising by 22 percent, aggravated assaults growing by 11 percent, rapes increasing by 20 percent and robberies rising by 24 percent, according to the city’s 2012 year-end crime report.

“Bill Bratton is internationally recognized as among the best minds in modern policing,” Mayor Jean Quan wrote in a Jan. 18 letter to council members. “I welcome Bratton’s ideas and enthusiasm for making our residents and businesses safer.”

Bratton, 65, led New York City police under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and later served as Los Angeles’s chief of police.

Oakland ranked fifth among U.S. cities in crime in 2011, behind Flint, Michigan; Detroit; Camden, New Jersey; and St. Louis, according to the City Crime Rate Rankings based on FBI data, published by Congressional Quarterly.

Some Oakland residents criticized the Bratton contract, expressing apprehension that he would apply a “stop and frisk” policy that could lead to racial profiling.

The council approved amending a $100,000 contract with Strategic Policy Partnership LLC, a public-safety consulting firm the city hired in September to assess the Oakland Police Department.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Vekshin in San Francisco at avekshin@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: William Glasgall in New York at wglasgall@bloomberg.net.

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