Oakland Police Officers Association responds to proposed budget

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — We’re hearing from the Oakland Police Officers Association after Mayor Libby Schaaf released her proposed budget for the 2021 through 2023.

It provides more than $650 million for the police department over two years.

The more than $650 million is about 18% of Oakland’s overall budget. The police officers association president said every bit of that is needed.

“We’re struggling and we’re struggling and the need for Oakland police officers is still significant given the level of violence,” Oakland Police Officers Association President Barry Donelan said.

Mayor Schaff’s office says her proposed budget preserves core police services — it gives the police department $325 million in 2021-22 and $334 million in 2022-23.

“I think the mayor is doing the best she can, it’s just a very difficult environment,” Donelan said.

Donelan says this money is a start to getting the department what it needs — including more officers.

Donelan has been an officer for more than two decades.

He’s currently a sergeant. He says there are 709 Oakland police officer — a five-year low — and crime is on the rise.  

“Last year more than 100 murders,” he said. “This year we’re already closing in on 50 murders for the year this year.”

Just Saturday morning, seven people were wounded in four shootings.

Video shows the shooting at Lake Meritt where three men and one women were injured.

Oakland police are still looking for the suspects.

In addition to the money for police, $2.6 million will be used to create and ramp up a non-police response to people having a mental health crisis.

“We’ve been supportive of that program all along,” Donelan said.

On a daily basis, Oakland police receive 2,000 calls. Donelan says this program would help lighten the load.

“If you’re looking at 100-150 calls a day that no longer come to us and got o this other group from my perspective that’s positive.”

This budget still has to be approved by city council.

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