The city of Oakland is going to have to find a new police chief.
Batts said he could no longer be in charge of a police department where he had 20-percent control but full accountability.
His resignation letter to the rank and file read, "I tender this official notice of my intent to resign as Chief of Police for the City of Oakland."
"The landscape has changed radically over the past two years with new and different challenges," Batts wrote.
Part of that landscape is a U.S. District judge's warning that he may put the Oakland police department under federal control because of delays in carrying out reforms required by a lawsuit connected to the infamous Riders case. The deal requires Oakland to make changes and the judge said time is running out.
There was also reported tension between Batts and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. Batts told reporters that when he informed Quan he was leaving Tuesday morning she appeared stunned to hear the news.
He said the media made more of his relationship with the mayor. "I work well with the mayor," Batts said.
Quan said during a joint news conference that followed the resignation that she understood "things were not what (Batts) thought it was going to be." "I didn't ask him to leave, but if he were to leave this was a good time so that somebody else could move this next phase forward," Quan said.
Although Batts has been rumored to be up for other police chief positions over the past year, including an opening in San Jose, his resignation was unexpected. He said it was not a decision made in haste. He also said it wasn't because of a single event, and instead he said it was a layering off of different issues. He said he decided to resign after discussing it with several mentors and members of his family.
Read resignation letter to police here.
Batts became Oakland's police chief in 2009. He held the same job in Long Beach prior to moving up north.
Batts wrote a separate letter addressed to Oakland residents. In it he also wrote that he found himself with limited control but full accountability. He ended that message saying "with a heavy heart, I have recognized that the conditions, under which I was hired as Chief, have changed and do not allow me to fulfill the primary mission - to provide an environment where one can live, work, play and thrive free from crime and the fear of crime."
Batts is expected to stay on the post through mid-November, according to the city administrator.
Batts told reporters he wasn't leaving because of another job, but said he has something in the works. He told NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez that it was with an university outside of California.