OAKLAND (KRON) — Oakland police now have a new challenge — maintaining focus on keeping the city safe while also trying to avoid being distracted by an embarrassing sex scandal.
On Monday, a veteran commander took KRON on a ride-a-long and talked about keeping officers focused on crime fighting in the wake of the sex scandal.
Oakland police Cpt. Leronne Armstrong, an 18-year veteran at Oakland police, has 100 officers under his command.
KRON’s Haaziq Madyun rode along with him in his command area to get an idea of what it is like to be an OPD officer these days, in the midst of a major sex scandal rocking the department.
“The challenge is, us as commanders, continuing to get the officers to maintain focus on what’s going on in the streets, to make sure that we are making the community safe,” Armstrong said.
Seven Oakland police officers are under investigation for alleged sexual misconduct with an underage girl who is now 18-years-old.
With all of these different controversies swirling around, is there the potential for an officer to lose focus?
“I think that any professional or anybody that has been under the level of scrutiny like we’ve been lately, I think that it has an impact on them,” Armstrong said. “Those of us out here every day doing our jobs, we don’t like to see the department portrayed in this way. We just continue to tell them that this is not a reflection of who they are as police officers, that they are hard-working and that they are out here doing a noble job.”
A prime example of needing to keep the focus on the job of being a police officer occurred earlier this month when 16-year-old Reggina Jefferies was shot to death while attending a memorial in downtown.
“I had the opportunity to go to the funeral of Reggina Jefferies,” Armstrong said. “One thing I wanted to convey to the family was that the Oakland Police Department was committed to finding the individuals who are responsible for this.”
He said that is the kind of work being done by the over 700 Oakland police officers sworn to protect this city.
The sex scandal, Armstrong says, though embarrassing, won’t stop the crime fighting effort.
“We truly understand why we wear the badge, we truly understand what the community expects from us, so from that perspective, I understand what I need to do and how we need to lead our officers to get out here and do this very difficult job,” Armstrong said.
Cpt. Armstrong said in addition to the command staff being there to answer any questions officers may have about the sex scandal, counseling has also been made available to help any officer who may need it.