OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — In the last three days, there have been four murders in the City of Oakland including a double homicide outside a popular restaurant and a murder outside city hall in broad daylight.
“There is a direct correlation to the number of officers that are serving in Oakland and the level of violent crime. with more officers we can respond faster, and therefore try and catch the perpetrators,” said Barry Donelan, President of the Oakland Police Officers Association.
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Donelan said staffing is currently at 680 officers. Last fall, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong called in California Highway Patrol to help with traffic crime. He added that OPD no longer has a traffic unit due to low staffing levels.
“We will take all the help we can get. We need 1,100 to 1,200 to deal with the 2,000 service calls from our residents every day,” said Donelan. A spokesperson with OPD said there are no plans as of right now to bring back CHP.
Donelan said police academies will bring officers to the ranks. “So far we have taken 1,100 firearms. That’s a 30 percent increase,” said Donelan.
Donelan said increasing penalties for those illegally carrying weapons is what could help solve this crisis. In the meantime, he said officers will continue to struggle and try and meet citizen demands.
“It is soul-destroying for the officers trying their best to serve residents who are calling the police,” added Donelan.