OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Oakland leaders came together on Saturday to discuss what they are doing to make the city safer. The meeting was open to the public and speakers included Mayor Sheng Thao and Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price.
There was strong emphasis that less than 1 percent of the city’s population commits crimes, but everyone agreed more has to be done to hold these people accountable. Oakland community members filled Genesis Worship Center to hear how elected leaders are going to try and curb violence in Oakland.
“We need law enforcement to do their jobs to help deal with these evil people,” said Nate Miley, Alameda County supervisor.
Mayor Sheng Thao took to the stage to discuss how she has worked to expand policing in her first eight months in office. “We’ve increased the number of police officers and community ambassadors. Today we have more officers, actual human officers in uniforms, and community ambassadors than we’ve had in the last three years,” the mayor said.
Thao says they have six California Highway Patrol officers in the city to focus on traffic violations. She has also increased OPD’s budget by 2 percent and has added police academies to train more officers.
“By next year, I promise you, let’s look at the numbers and then have me be held responsible to that,” Thao said.
The mayor is still waiting to appoint a new police chief. The process has started, but the police commission has to create a list of three candidates first. From there, Mayor Thao says she will be able to start the interview process.
District Attorney Pamela Price was also at the meeting and received mixed reactions. “We are focused on ‘How do we reduce guns in this community?’ because so many times if you had a disagreement with somebody, if you didn’t have a gun, you would not hurt that person,” Price said.
Representatives from the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office were also in attendance. Both emphasized they are doing what they can while still being understaffed.
Before the meeting, hundreds of people gathered outside for a rally asking leaders to make a change.
Mayor Thao also mentioned the city’s 911 system isn’t working and many people receive a busy signal when they call. On Monday, she will be announcing an initiative to fix that issue.