California Highway Patrol Dispatched to Oakland to Fight Crime Only Lasted 5 Days

California Highway Patrol Dispatched to Oakland to Fight Crime Only Lasted 5 Days

California Highway Patrol officers join Oakland Police for joint operations, in a video released by the California governor. (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

2/23/2024

Updated: 2/27/2024

After California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers who were sent to Oakland to help with rising crime lasted only one workweek in February, some are questioning if budgets and a shortage of highway patrol staff statewide potentially resulted in the drawback.
While officials are calling the Feb. 5 through Feb. 9 deployment a success, others say it came with a price.
One sheriff of a rural county in Northern California said that highway patrols were diminished in his area because officers were moved to the Bay Area.
“We don’t have the number of highway patrol up here that we should have,” Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall told The Epoch Times. “The governor is pulling resources ... and in the meantime, everyone’s up here screaming at me about people driving like maniacs on the highway.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office pushed back against the allegations while offering no details about why the deployment ended so soon or whether the operation was intended to last only five days.
“The focused operation is not impacting the service levels of the surrounding area,” Izzy Gardon, spokesperson for the governor, told The Epoch Times by email on Feb. 23.
CHP officials didn’t explain the intended timeline but told The Epoch Times that “most” of the officers used in the Oakland deployment were from task forces and not pulled from other beats.
The governor ordered 120 CHP officers on Feb. 5 to Oakland to assist its police department after a rise in crime last year.
California Highway Patrol officers join Oakland Police for joint operations, in a video released by the California governor. (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

California Highway Patrol officers join Oakland Police for joint operations, in a video released by the California governor. (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

“What’s happening in this beautiful city and surrounding area is alarming and unacceptable,” Mr. Newsom said in a statement at the time.
Sheng Thao, the embattled Oakland mayor currently facing a recall attempt, agreed.
“The surge of crime and violence that we are seeing in our streets is completely unacceptable,” Ms. Thao said in the same statement.
More than 15,000 vehicle thefts plagued the city in 2023—representing a 45 percent increase from the previous year. Robberies were up by 38 percent, and violent crime was up by 21 percent over the same period.
Specialty units assigned to the city during the deployment included auto theft and retail crime investigators and drug detection K-9 handlers, according to the highway patrol.
The five-day operation netted 71 arrests and recovered 145 stolen vehicles, according to the law enforcement agency. Suspects were detained for auto theft; possession of stolen property, drugs, and guns; and felony warrants, in addition to driving under the influence.
California Highway Patrol officers join Oakland Police for joint operations, in a video released by the California governor. (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

California Highway Patrol officers join Oakland Police for joint operations, in a video released by the California governor. (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

“Through coordinated efforts with local partners and increased deployment, CHP is making a difference and making Oakland and the East Bay safer,” Mr. Newsom said in a Feb. 14 statement announcing the results of the deployment. “We’re sending a clear message: crime will not go unchecked in Oakland and East Bay neighborhoods.”
The mayor said the results are promising and vowed to do more to improve public safety.
“These initial surge results show that when we work together, we improve public safety,” Ms. Thao said in the governor’s statement. “Crime and violence don’t belong on Oakland’s streets—and the city won’t rest until a sense of safety and security is fully restored.”
While the number of CHP officers deployed to the area was reduced to 72 on Feb. 9, a Feb. 14 agency statement noted that additional “unannounced targeted surge operations” can be expected.
Highlighting the success of the limited deployment, CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee said more planned undercover operations will continue to benefit the area.
“These results underscore our commitment to working with our local partners to advance the safety and security of California’s communities,” Mr. Duryee said in the governor’s Feb. 14 statement. “Through additional proactive operations and an increased presence, the CHP will continue to support our allied agencies in the East Bay and across the state to enforce the law and protect the residents of California.”
California Highway Patrol officers join Oakland Police for joint operations, in a video released by the California governor. (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

California Highway Patrol officers join Oakland Police for joint operations, in a video released by the California governor. (Office of Governor Gavin Newsom/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The timing and depth of future deployments remains a secret to preserve the element of surprise, officials said.
“We don’t release dates beforehand because we don’t want to alert the criminals,” Jaime Coffee, CHP’s director of communications, told The Epoch Times on Feb. 23. “Public safety is our top priority, and we’re working with local law enforcement to ensure that operations are beneficial to communities.”
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Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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