Oakland City Council looks to make further cuts to police department budget

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – After cutting $14-million from the Oakland Police Department’s budget for the fiscal year that runs through next June, Oakland’s City Council will now look at cutting even more at its meeting on Tuesday.

But police officers are putting on a full court press to prevent that.  

Nearly $15-million was cut from the department when the city council passed its budget in June.  

Now, two council members want to pull out an additional $11-million.

“The work isn’t done,” Rebecca Kaplan said.

Council President Rebecca Kaplan says much of the money would be deployed to other departments to deal with issues she feels the police department has traditionally dealt with.

“Movement in the direction of traffic enforcement, bicycle enforcement, special events, we have a breakdown of a number of activities that can be shifted to other strategies,” Kaplan said.

“I think any further reductions for an already resourced strapped police department is foolhardy,” OPOA President Barry Donelan said. 

But on the eve of the vote, the Oakland Police Union released crime data indicating violence is on the upswing and any more cuts would be a mistake.

“What we are seeing is an increase in violent crime, shooting and murder together, there is a 22% increase year over year in violent crime in the city of Oakland,” Donelan said.

The full court press by the police union comes on the heels of last weeks news conference by Police Chief Susan Manheimer, when she too was warned of further cuts.  

But Kaplan says her proposal doesn’t put a stop to officers fighting crime.

“Our proposals strengthen Oakland’s ability to respond to gun violence because we propose to fund evidence technicians who trace the guns and let us shutdown illegal gun dealers,” Kaplan said. 

In a report to the city council, the city administrator says these changes don’t add up to 11-million in cuts and that’s a problem.  

The council will take up the matter at its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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