How Oakland, California, Radically Reduced Violence

Capt. Ersie Joyner never wanted to be a police officer. Thirty years after joining the police force, he is a decorated veteran of the Oakland Police Department and heads Oakland’s Ceasefire program, which is responsible for comprehensively addressing serious violence—specifically gun violence—within the community. The program has been a huge success. Capt. Joyner sat down with Ed to discuss his reluctant journey into policing and how his police department was forced to innovate in the face of rising violence. With violent crime on the decline in Oakland, and with use-of-force issues riding the same trend, we asked Capt. Joyner about how a city once plagued with crime and violence navigated such a positive about-face.

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Daniella Gibbs Léger is the executive vice president for Communications and Strategy at the Center for American Progress. Ed Chung is the vice president for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center. Kyle Epstein is the media relations manager at the Center. Chris Ford is the broadcast coordinator at the Center.