(Editor’s note: When Chief Anthony Batts was named as Oakland’s new police chief in August 2009, there were high hopes by many for what he would bring to the city. The former Long Beach police chief also had big plans for a community that was struggling for a more positive relationship between police and residents, lower crime rates and respect. The following is the fifth in a five-part series that looks at Batts’ first year on the job and what the future holds for his tenure as chief of police.)

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts is not an easy man to get a hold of these days.

Even before the layoffs, the police department’s pension issue and the Johannes Mehserle verdict, there is limited time for the chief to reflect on his work so far in Oakland. And while Batts reaffirmed his commitment to being the Oakland police chief, it’s clear many of priorities have changed in light of the recent layoffs of 80 cops.

In a recent phone conversation, Batts discussed how he keeps up his morale, the OPD Strategic Framework and his plans to recalibrate the police department, in light of the recent downsizing of his force.

Batts called the police layoffs demoralizing, but also said he was determined to move forward.

“My reality is now I have to prioritize our goals and free up officers to do work in the streets. One area we’re looking at it developing hot spot policing,” he said. “Hot spot policing is looking at areas of the city that need our help the most. And so we’re focusing some of our limited resources on those areas.”

Batts said it’s been a challenge to keep up with the demands for service in the city, but he’s proud of the work the department has been doing to lower the call to service response times.

“This has been a blow to the department, we have less resources to work with,” Batts said. “Losing 80 officers has had a dramatic effect on the department … there’s no two ways about it. But, nevertheless, our job is to do the best we can to make Oakland a safe and secure city and if we can keep a laser focus on our goals, we’ll come out in good shape.”

Batts also said he’s looking forward to an upcoming summit with federal agencies to help in reducing violent crime in the city.

“I’m looking forward to working with our federal partners to help deal with a number of issues we’re dealing with,” he said of the summit, which was held Aug. 24.

Batts also is not backing down from publicly stating that the department needs more police officers.

“In order for us to get on top of this demand and make a measurable difference we have to grow as a department,” he said. “The empirical date shows that we need to grow as a police department. When you look at the 2006 average for large cities in the state the average is 659 incidents. Anaheim is the lowest and Oakland is at 1,592 incidents. Sacramento, the closest comparable city to us is at 866. This shows you that we have a measured amount of demand. We have a dramatic workload. If you look at San Francisco that has a little under a million residents you’ll see 705 incidents. And they have 2,500 officers in San Francisco.”

But with Oakland standing a good chance of losing even more police officers in the next several months, as opposed to hiring or staving off layoffs, Batts has put in place a number of stopgap measures.

“We’ve taken officers who’ve been on desk duty and having them take low-grade reports,” Batts said. “We’ve also looked at shifting our response to some incidents so we can free up our officers to focus on important items like gangs, guns and drugs.”

In addition, Oakland Police have decided to eliminate specialized units including problem solving officers, walking officers, the OPD probation and corrections team and the department’s targeted enforcement task force.

Even with the current challenges, Batts said the Strategic Framework is very much in play.

“I knew it was a stretch goal for the city and department even when we were at 803 officers,” he said. “I wanted to know if the city had the fortitude and desire to go forward with those goals. I’ve been out in the community … . I’ve been to about 80 to 90 meetings and I asked if this is something that the community wants and everyone has said that they want to see us put forward a genuine effort.”

But instead of Batts talking about Oakland being one of the safest cities in California in the next few years, he’s scaled down his plan.

Read Part 1: New OPD chief tries to fight Oakland’s downward spiral  & Part 2: One Year Later: Oakland Chief Batts prepares game plan for department, city;  &  Part 3: Oakland Residents Remain Positive Despite Reduced Police Force, continued Tenson; Part 4: One Year Later: How will Oakland’s fall election impact the city, OPD?

Acknowledgements: Oakland Local thanks Spot.us, which helped us raise the money to fund this series, Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig for editing these pieces, and Jennifer Inez Ward for all her research and writing.

Read more coverage of the Oakland PD here.http://oaklandlocal.com/tags/OPD