Can Operation Cease-Fire Help Oakland?

After three shooting-related deaths on Easter, Oakland residents again look for solutions

Three men were shot to death in Oakland in a ten-hour period on Easter Sunday. It's a level of violence that has many calling for more police protection.

"I've been here 67 years and never seen it like this in the inner city," said Bishop Bob Jackson of the Acts Full Gospel Church.

Jackson is the one who leaned on Gov. Jerry Brown to provide California Highway Patrol officers to help police Oakland and was instrumental in getting Alameda County sheriffs deputies to take part in what they call Operation Cease Fire.

Alameda County Sheriff's Office spokesman J. D. Nelson says twice a week, ten deputies and one sergeant are given an area to work and they provide high visibility patrols in Oakland.

Operation Cease Fire is a tactic used in other cities with some success.

This past Saturday night during Oakland's Operation Cease Fire, a deputy was injured and a suspect shot and killed. Jackson said only 200 officers are available to patrol the streets out of a force of 600. He would like to see Oakland with 1,000 officers.

Cal Stanley, president of the Oakland Boys and Girls Club remembers how disagreements were settled in the old days: "On the playground we would work it out and the worst case scenario would be it would come to blows. Now a fight is not over until one or the other is dead."

Stanley has seen things change during his more than 20 years as head of the Oakland Boys and Girls Club. His messages to young people include conflict resolution and a strong self image.

"It's my firm belief that if the kid doesn't care about himself, none of the rest of us stand a chance with that person," he said.

But until young people can police themselves, many believe someone has to do it for them.

"The bottom line Is Operation Cease Fire is just a Band-Aid approach -- what Oakland needs is more police officers," Nelson said.

Added Jackson: "In all of the places where Operation Cease Fire was successful, they all started with a number of police officers appropriate to patrol that city. Oakland is in a situation no other city in America ha -- -we don't have enough officers to patrol the city of Oakland."

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