The Oakland Police Department is upgrading its security measures at its headquarters building downtown, police spokeswoman Holly Joshi said today.Police Chief Anthony Batts, who had been chief in Long Beach, has wanted to improve security since he assumed command of the department last October because he noticed the department is behind in modern security standards, Joshi said.Security at police headquarters, which is located at 455 Seventh St. and opened in 1962, would have been improved anyway but there’s been “a sense of urgency” in the wake of three recent incidents near the building, Joshi said.On March 27, a 25-year-old man later identified as Nathaniel
Reddick, used a hatchet and shotgun blasts to damage six unoccupied patrol cars parked along Sixth Street, near police headquarters. He was shot in his side by police when he began to turn his gun on officers who had surrounded him and were trying to get him to surrender, according to police.Last Friday, a man who was fleeing a hit-and-run crash in a different part of Oakland drove a U-Haul truck into a police parking lot on Washington Street near police headquarters and fled the vehicle.A suspicious-looking backpack was found in the truck, prompting streets in the area to be shot down until a bomb squad determined that there weren’t any explosives in the backpack. On Sunday afternoon, someone who apparently used a pellet gun shot out windows of a patrol car parked in a police lot underneath Interstate Highway 880 facing Washington Street.Joshi said patrol cars that used to be parked on Sixth Street between Broadway and Washington Street will now be parked in fenced lots underneath I-880 and security for the lots will be increased.At the headquarters building, visitors had access to virtually every floor any time of the day.Joshi said visitors will now be limited to the basement and first three floors. She said visitors will need to have an appointment and be escorted if they want to visit floors four through nine.However, Joshi said the department is trying to continue to be as “user-friendly” to the public as possible.
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