City of Oakland moves closer to significantly defund its police department

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — There have been nearly a dozen homicides this month in the city of Oakland. 

Among those is the July 17 fatal stabbing of Jeffery Chambers.

OPD spokesperson Felicia Aisthorpe says investigators need the community’s help in solving these murders.

“We’ve had 10 homicides for the month of July,” Aisthorpe said. “We really need the community’s help to solve these crimes.”

These killings come amidst city council approval of a task force with a goal of cutting OPD’s budget in half. 

The city of Oakland just got one step closer to significantly defunding its police department.

“The Oakland City Council unanimously approved the reimagining public safety task force,” Nikki Fortunato said.

Oakland City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas co-authored the resolution that creates a task force aimed at dramatically reducing the police budget.

“What we are going to do is very rapidly put together a community lead task force, that will work on a set of recommendations for the city as we plan our next two-year budget, to create more safety and equity in how we restructure our public safety systems and work to reduce our police spending by 50%,” Fortunato Bas said.

She says the 17-member reimagining police task force will work on a detailed plan on how use that money to expand the city’s ability to provide residents with mental and physical health services, youth programs, safe, affordable and stable housing and high quality job opportunities

“What we are going to do is look at how are we using those resources,” Fortunato Bas said. “Let’s focus our sworn officers on violent crime and let’s really make sure that all the other things that police get called to do, that they may not be the best equipped to handle, get solved by alternate responses.”

The co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project Cat Brooks released a statement reading in part:

“While there is still much work to be done, this is a win Oakland.”

“I really appreciate the groups like Anti Police-Terror Project who have been raising this issue of reimagining public safety, divesting policing and investing in community for over five years,” Fortunato Bas said.

The councilmember says it is important to point out that reducing the police budget by half does not mean cutting the number of sworn officers in half.

“There are some things that we have to contend with, that includes Measure Z, our violence prevention ballot measure that has a minimum number of staffing,” Fortunato Bas said. “There are also some rules in the police associations’ contract that we have to abide by.”

She says by the end of this year the task force will present the city council with an initial set of recommendations, with a goal of a final set of recommendations to be presented by March of 2010

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