FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEEOWS
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 27, 1998202/307-0703

OAKLAND GETS STATE-OF-THE-ART MOBILE POLICE STATION

One of Only Six in Nation from Justice Department

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As part of a new Justice Department effort to reduce crime and revitalize neighborhoods, Oakland today received a new state-of-the-art mobile police station. The Mobile Community Outreach Police Station (MCOPS) initiative is a new part of the Department's successful Weed and Seed program. Oakland has successfully carried out its Weed and Seed effort over two years within the Coliseum/Lockwood Gardens area in the eastern part of the city.

"This mobile police station will do more than just improve law enforcement, it will become an important part of the community," said Stephen Rickman, Director of the Justice Department's Executive Office for Weed and Seed (EOWS). "The MCOPS van will assist the residents of East Oakland by providing them with easier access to officers, which will enable them to get the help they need." The mobile station will provide police officers the opportunity to have immediate on-site contact with community residents and allow for quick dispatch of officers in response to service calls. It will also allow for special law enforcement deployment operations and make it easier for officers to participate in community meetings and forums.

In addition to its use for basic law enforcement functions, the station can be used to provide services such as child immunization, blood pressure screening for the elderly, and childcare screening. Police officers, working in conjunction with the Community and Economic Development Agency, will also utilize the new MCOPS vehicle to provide employment referral services and municipal lending information to residents who live in the city's Weed and Seed area. That area is a diverse, multiethnic community of nearly 5,000 people residing in the area bounded by Seminary Avenue, 81st Avenue, East 14th Street and the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks.

The station, which was custom built for the Justice Department by Lynch Diversified Vehicles in Burlington, Wisconsin, features a full communications area, including radios, a fax machine and an interfaced phone system. It also includes two full workstations and a conference room. The Oakland mobile station is one of six that EOWS is providing to Weed and Seed sites across the nation.

Operation Weed and Seed is a multi-agency strategy that "weeds out" violent crime, gang activity, drug use, and drug trafficking in targeted neighborhoods and then "seeds" the target area by restoring these neighborhoods through social and economic revitalization. The Weed and Seed strategy recognizes the importance of linking and integrating federal, state, and local law enforcement and criminal justice efforts with federal, state, and local social services, and private sector and community efforts to maximize the impact of existing programs and resources. It also recognizes the paramount importance of community involvement. Community residents must be empowered to assist in solving problems in their neighborhoods. In addition, the private sector is involved as a pivotal partner in the Weed and Seed strategy.

To learn more about the other Weed and Seed programs and conferences, visit the EOWS web site at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/eows.

Information about other OJP bureaus and program offices is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov. Media should contact OJP's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at 202/307-0703.

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EOWS98201

After hours contact: Adam Spector, 202/516-6800