The Oakland City Council approved the hiring early Wednesday of a police consultant whose aggressive tactics as chief in New York and Los Angeles made him attractive to some crime-weary residents but anathema to others who fear he lacks sufficient concern for civil rights.
Mayor Jean Quan proposed hiring William Bratton to develop a public safety plan in the state's most violent city. With Oakland facing a public safety crisis, Police Chief Howard Jordan called Bratton's hire important and referred to him "one of the brightest minds in policing."
The council agreed, voting 7-1 to hire Bratton after a meeting that attracted hundreds of people and lasted more than nine hours. Only Councilwoman Desley Brooks voted against the $250,000 contract with a consulting company that includes Bratton's hiring.
"We have got to change - radically," said Councilwoman Lynette Gibson McElhaney, attending her first full council meeting. "We have go to do something different. ... The reason I'm not afraid of the bogeyman named Bratton is that we have tremendous community oversight."