Drug cartels and brutal killings – that’s what federal police officers down in Mexico have to deal with everyday. Hoping to learn from the best, two of the Federales traveled hundreds of miles up to Oakland for a day with police.
Wednesday morning, about a dozen of Oakland’s finest met with the Federales at the Eastern Substation, shaking hands and exchanging names before hopping into two patrol cars for a ride-along to the Fruitvale neighborhood.
The Federales say they’re trying to learn mainly how Oakland police communicate and what kind of technology they use.
“Here in Oakland, there is an area that has high risk. It’s also in Mexico where we have a lot of areas like that,” said Federale Manuel Chavez through a Spanish interpreter. “So we hope the way they do their job here in order to combat criminals is also the way we could do it in Mexico.”
Police Chief Howard Jordan admits the department is severely understaffed. In fact, he wants at least 320 more officers to give the city efficient coverage, but he still said dedicating officers to showing the Federales around was well worth it, to put Oakland on the global map.
“You’ve gotta make sacrifices in order to get something out of it and my hope is that we are now being seen in other countries as a premier law enforcement agency. Yes, there could be some response time issues but I’m willing to take that chance just to let people know the work that’s being done here in Oakland.”
Oakland Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson says the department is even trying to further develop the relationship, and is considering eventually sending some Oakland police officers down to learn from the Mexican authorities.