OAKLAND -- The California Highway Patrol is willing to help police some of Oakland's most dangerous streets for another three months, but this time it wants to be paid for its services, city officials said Tuesday.
The CHP's initial 90-day agreement to help Oakland's undermanned police force expires at the end of this week. City officials had hoped that the CHP would continue providing officers free of charge, but those hopes were dashed last week when the City Council agreed to pay for similar help from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
"They do want to be paid because the (the sheriff's office) is going to be paid," OPD spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.
CHP officials could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Mayor Jean Quan said she was hopeful that state grants could be used to help cover some of the patrol costs going forward and that she would soon meet with the CHP about preserving the Oakland patrols.
"This assistance came in a time of need, and this need still exits," she said in a prepared statement.
Highway patrolmen began policing high-crime sections of Oakland in early November after city officials and a prominent minister asked Gov. Jerry Brown for help to combat the city's surging crime rate.
Watson refused to say how many CHP officers were augmenting Oakland's police force. When the assistance was announced, CHP said it would provide between eight and 20 officers.
While violent crime surged 23 percent last year, Oakland's police department shrank to just 613 officers -- the lowest staffing level in over a decade. The department's first academy class in several years is scheduled to complete its field training this summer.
To further help the short-handed department, the City Council last week agreed to pay the sheriff's office up to $265,000 for 11 deputies to work in Oakland two days a week. The contract lasts for 90 days. Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern said recently that he was required by law to charge Oakland for the help.
City officials did not say how much they would have to pay to keep the CHP in town, although it's expected the amount would be similar to that paid to the sheriff's office.
Oakland has little choice but to pay for the help, if that's the only way it can get it, Councilman Larry Reid said. "Gov. Brown said we were on our own, so, we're on our own."
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.