OAKLAND -- The California Highway Patrol will continue policing Oakland streets for at least another month, although it's unclear whether the city or the state will be paying for the service.
The CHP's 90-day crime suppression work in Oakland had been scheduled to end Thursday, potentially leaving the city with even fewer officers to deal with a violent crime epidemic.
The extension, announced late Wednesday, is seen as a stopgap measure while the city and the CHP work out a plan to pay for sustained state assistance.
"We are extremely grateful to the CHP for their recent patrols and for their ongoing commitment to help keep Oakland safe," Mayor Quan said in a prepared statement.
CHP Officer Sam Morgan said the agency wants "to make sure that we are doing everything within our power to assist the city of Oakland."
Highway patrol officers 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. The CHP details included between eight and 20 officers patrolling at times when crime is typically high or city patrols were depleted.
Such crime suppression work is typically covered by a state grant program, but in Oakland's case, the CHP picked up the tab, which cost between $250,000 and $300,000, Morgan said.
Morgan disputed the city's claim Tuesday that the CHP began seeking reimbursement for its
"It would be imprudent for the CHP to absorb the costs of these types of operations because we do them statewide," he said.
Acts Full Gospel Bishop Bob Jackson, who last year urged Gov. Brown to help Oakland deal with its crime issues, said he was "appalled" that the CHP now wanted to charge for its service.
"I don't know how many more black boys and brown boys have to die in our streets before people realize this is a disaster," he said.
Oakland, which tallied 131 homicides last year, began seeking outside help recently as retirements and resignations left it with just 613 officers -- the police force's lowest staffing level in more than a decade. The department mandates that officers work overtime just to fill beats.
CHP help is typically covered by the California California Gang Reduction, Intervention and Prevention grant program. However, Oakland's $243,758 allotment is targeted for its Operation Ceasefire program, aimed at reducing gang violence.
The city can apply for a new round of state funding later this year, but those funds can't not be spent until 2014, said Oscar Villegas of the Board of State and Community Corrections, which oversees the grant.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.