Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta Deploy State Attorneys to Boost Criminal Prosecutions in Oakland and the East Bay

Lawyers from the California National Guard and California Department of Justice Deployed to Support Crime Prosecution in Oakland and Alameda County

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta are launching a new partnership with Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price to increase the capacity to prosecute suspects involved in violent crimes, serious drug-related crimes, and property crimes — including retail theft and auto burglary — in Oakland and the East Bay. The partnership will result in the deployment of deputy attorneys general from the California Department of Justice and attorneys from the California National Guard — adding capacity to prosecute suspects arrested for serious and complex crimes in Alameda County.

OAKLAND — Building on the law enforcement surge operation in the East Bay, Governor Newsom, California Attorney General Rob Bonta, and Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announced today the formation of a new partnership between state law enforcement agencies and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to bolster the prosecution of criminal suspects in Oakland and Alameda County.

The new partnership between the Governor’s Office, the California Department of Justice (CADOJ), the California National Guard (CalGuard), the California Highway Patrol (CHP), and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (ACDAO) will result in the deployment of attorneys and resources to boost law enforcement capacity in Oakland and the East Bay to investigate, analyze, and prosecute suspects in violent, property, and serious drug-related crimes.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “An arrest isn’t enough. Justice demands that suspects are appropriately prosecuted. Whether it’s ‘bipping’ or carjacking, attempted murder or fentanyl trafficking, individuals must be held accountable for their crimes using the full and appropriate weight of the law.”

“The East Bay is my home, and I’m committed to ensuring that the people of Oakland can live and work in a safe community,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The California Department of Justice has legal and law enforcement expertise to bring to bear as we work collaboratively to hold bad actors accountable. I welcome this partnership with local and state law enforcement, the Governor’s Office, and most importantly, the Oakland community, to ensure that justice is done so that Oakland residents can thrive and prosper.”

“I welcome the support from the Governor in this fight against organized retail crime and the scourge of Fentanyl in our community,” said Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price. “I am assigning Alameda County career prosecutor Assistant DA Michael Nieto to represent my office in this collaborative effort.”

The partnership will focus on increasing the prosecutions of violent criminals and the prosecution of serious drug-related, and property crimes — including retail theft and auto burglary.

CADOJ has independent prosecutorial authority and, as part of this partnership, is expected to prosecute significant cases targeting major criminal networks in Oakland and the East Bay. In turn, following a model developed as part of the state’s San Francisco partnership, CalGuard will deploy experienced prosecutors to work as deputized Assistant District Attorneys in the ACDAO and will provide investigative and analytical support to identify criminal networks. Cases will be investigated and developed in cooperation with local and federal law enforcement partners. The partnership is expected to be operational in the coming days.

Today’s announcement builds on Governor Newsom’s deployment of 120 CHP officers earlier this week to the East Bay as part of a law enforcement surge operation with allied local agencies. The surge operation is focused on a multi-pronged approach: targeting auto theft, cargo theft, retail crime, violent crime, and high-visibility traffic enforcement.

In a close partnership between the Legislature and the Governor, California has made substantial investments in Oakland and the larger East Bay region to improve the health, safety, and well-being of the community:

California has invested in violence intervention and prevention efforts — including CalVIP. The state has also expanded opportunities for youth by transforming Oakland’s schools into community schools, mandating and funding after-school programs, awarding Oakland grants for youth coaches, establishing targeted college and career savings accounts, and providing tuition-free community college for students at Oakland community colleges. California has also improved community beautification through multiple grants that bolster access to outdoor recreation and the arts and culture. Through small business credit support programs, the state has deployed over $20.7 million to small businesses in Alameda County through IBank’s loan guarantee program and provided multiple equity-focused grants. The state has awarded Alameda County over $919 million in climate-focused grants since 2015. Since 2019, Alameda County has received over $1 billion from the state to boost affordable housing and over $200 million to address homelessness directly.

In August 2023, the Governor announced a partnership with the City of Oakland to deploy CHP officers within the city and loan up to $1.2 million to improve public safety in Oakland. Following the Governor’s directive, CHP increased its presence in Oakland — arresting 100 suspected criminals and recovering 193 stolen vehicles. Across the Bay, the CHP’s special operation in San Francisco has resulted in over 460 arrests, 5,263 citations, and the seizure of over 18.1 kilograms of fentanyl.

Crime in Oakland is uniquely rising compared to other urban centers in California. Preliminary reports from Oakland indicate that in 2023, violent crime rose 21%, robbery increased 38%, and vehicle theft increased 45%. Preliminary 2023 data from across the state indicates the opposite trend: crime, including homicides, violent crime, and property crime is down in many jurisdictions. For example, violent crime and homicides are significantly down in Los Angeles, and early data from San Francisco indicate overall crime in 2023 was at its lowest point in the last ten years — other than the year 2020 when daily life and routines were significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

California has invested $1.1 billion since 2019 to fight crime, help locals hire more police, and improve public safety, including in the East Bay. Last month, Governor Newsom called for new legislation to expand criminal penalties and bolster police and prosecutorial tools to combat theft and take down professional criminals who profit from smash and grabs, retail theft, and car burglaries. In 2023, as part of California’s Real Public Safety Plan, the Governor announced the largest-ever investment to combat organized retail crime in state history, an annual 310% increase in proactive operations targeting organized retail crime, and special operations across the state to fight crime and improve public safety.