Oakland Housing Authority Police Department
Oakland Housing Authority Police Department’s
Nationally-Recognized Community Policing Program
The success of the OHAPD Community Policing Approach is simple. We empower the public housing community in changing our residents from the inside out. Our success in partnership is a sense of equality, mutual respect and trust.
Is it a new approach? Some community policing strategies, such as foot patrol, resemble policing of years past. Community is not just another “tack on” program that requires new resources. It is a philosophy, a management style, and an organizational design that promotes police-community partnerships and proactive problem-solving strategies. It is a different way of looking at policing.
In 1992, in response to a high rate of homicides and other crimes in an area of Oakland that included two of our largest housing developments, the Oakland Housing Authority Police Department (OHAPD) introduced a method of community policing designed to encourage residents and officers to work together to reduce crime. The results were dramatic; almost as soon as the program was introduced homicides in the area stopped. In fact, from 1992 until 2000 there were no homicides there, and since then there have been only a few. The program was recognized on national television, and Attorney General Janet Reno visited the area twice to see the transformation for herself.
So what is the clue to OHAPD’s phenomenal success? What sets it apart from other community policing programs? Is theirs a new approach?
Some community policing strategies, such as foot patrol, resemble policing of years past. Our Community Policing program goes beyond that; it is a philosophy, a management style, and an organizational design that promotes police-community partnerships and hands-on problem-solving strategies. It is a different way of looking at policing.
- Our program redefines the roles of the community and police and the relationships between them. Both share responsibility for social order and work cooperatively to identify problems and develop practical, community-wide solutions throughout the public housing population.
- Our program acknowledges that we cannot do the job of public safety alone and recognizes that we have valuable resources available in our community.
- OHAPD’s program uses a model called “Health Realization,” which recognizes that communities are naturally resilient and that their members have the ability to identify and solve their own problems.
- Community empowerment occurs when we enlist our residents in identifying their problems, determining their own solutions to them, and then working together with law enforcement to make positive changes. Only then do they truly have charge of their own destinies
- The key to the success of the OHAPD Community Policing approach is simple. We empower the public housing community to change their lives from the inside out. We create a partnership with the community and they gain a sense of equality, mutual respect, and trust.
BOOKS FOR KIDS
The OHA Children's Book Giveaway Program was started after staff members noticed that parents with young children were often in Oakland Housing Authority offices conducting business for long periods of time while their children had to wait with nothing to do. The program involves soliciting donations of children’s books from vendors, non-profit organizations and private citizens. The OHA Children’s Book Giveaway Program offers an opportunity for young children to become more interested in books and reading. The books are available to children while they wait and the children are encouraged to take books home with them when they leave. To date, OHA has given more than 29,000 books to children.
The Police Department oversaw this project at its inception and continues to parcipate actively in the program. A family enjoys books while waiting. A fourth grade class that collected several books for the program.
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