Oakland City Council votes in favor of funding sideshow unit

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Oakland city council members voted in favor of funding the sideshow unit Monday night meaning officers could be back on the street as early as this weekend.

The newly approved funding comes after a weekend of illegal sideshows in the city of Oakland.

On Monday, the chief of the Oakland Police Department made an appeal to the city council to give him the resources he needs to get his sideshow enforcement unit back on the street.

It was another weekend of illegal sideshows in the city of Oakland. Police broke up the stunt driving events in some locations and surrendered the streets to sideshows participants due to lack of police resources in other parts of the city.

“Tragically we had a mother that went into labor while caught in the middle of a sideshow. She was unable to get out and we had to go in and send units to rescue her,” Chief LeRonne Armstrong said. 

Oakland police chief LeRonne Armstrong says OPD’s sideshow enforcement unit was cut last year due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on Oakland’s economy but now the city has $192-million in federal funds from President Joe Biden’s American Rescue act that can be used to bring back those special police units.

“I hope today the city council decides to allocate the funds needed to reallocate resources to the police department so again we can begin to address violent crime, address sideshow and be able to make Oakland a safe city,” Armstrong said. 

When asked if he would be in favor of using some of those funds to bring back Oakland’s sideshow unit, here is what Oakland City Councilmember Loren Taylor had to say: 

“I am absolutely in favor of that and I anticipate that we’ll be voting to bring those dollars back and restore those services.”

Oakland City Councilmember Loren Taylor represents parts of East Oakland hit hard by sideshows. He talks about why will cast his vote in favor of using some of the $192-million to fund OPD’s sideshow unit.

“I cannot ignore the grandmother giving me a call complaining because she got stuck in a sideshow and wasn’t able to leave for an hour because of the reckless driving and other activity,” Taylor said. 

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