OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – The city of Oakland is in the midst of a violent crime wave and the police union says the only answer is to hire more officers.
However, an East Oakland city council member says people in his district have mixed views on the subject.
The police department currently has 725 officers.
“We’re going in the wrong direction. Violent crime is going up and our numbers are going down,” Officer Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association, said.
According to OPD’s weekly crime report the Violent Crime Index, which includes homicide, aggravated assault, rape, and robbery, has increased 13% from this time last year.
The president of the union that represents Oakland police, Officer Barry Donelan talks about the number one answer that he says officers need to reverse the current violent crime trend.
“Number one is boots on the ground with police officers. We have to get the numbers up. There are 64 members eligible to retire this year. We’ve had one academy with 23 that graduated last week and that’s our last academy for this year. Now the council has to make a decision. Are you going to continue to hire over the next two years, starting in July, or not?” Donelan said.
Speaking on behalf of the 64,000 residents in his district in East Oakland, Councilmember Loren Taylor says the subject of adding more cops gets mixed views.
“It’s mixed. We have those on all sides. Some recognize that police have not in many situations helped to solve the problems but to escalate it. While others acknowledge that having a police presence does deter crime and when we signal that there will be no police then folks take advantage of it,” Councilmember Loren Taylor
“What we need to understand is that it isn’t just a question of how many officers you have but what they are doing,” Rashida Grinage said.
Rashida Grinage of the Coalition for Police Accountability says now that the city council has approved hiring an inspector general a forensic accounting of how officers spend their time will help determine if more or fewer officers are needed.
“Start auditing the department and finding out where the waste is. Where the inefficiency is and what the department can do more smartly and with better outcomes,” Grinage said.