Oakland police union blames city council for lack of officers

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – The Oakland Police Union is calling out the city council, holding them responsible for the departure of five to 10 officers each month and leaving the ranks at 2016 levels at a time when murders, shootings, and armed robberies are soaring. 

“You gotta stop the attrition, how do you do that, you stop the demeaning vilifying police officers, treat them with value as the public servants they are,” Barry Donelan, with the Oakland Police Officers’ Association, said.

OPD had 723 officers in January, well below the 786 that were authorized. Now the number is below 700.

“As our numbers continue to fall, we’re struggling to fill the beats to put officers on the streets just to fill 911 calls,” Donelan said. 

When it approved a scaled-back police budget this summer, the city council approved only four police academies over the next two years.  

Now, Councilmember Sheng Thao wants to add two additional ones.

“It will fill our current vacancies with local hires, more women, more people of color and we know those are investments in the city,” Sheng Thao said.

Thao says the first new academy will require no additional funding, but the second one will. 

She says keeping the ranks above 678 officers is required otherwise the city will not be able to access Measure Z tax dollars. 

“This will save critical programming, violence prevention, violence interrupters, and the fire department along with OPD foot patrol officers as well,” Thao said. 

Councilmember Thao’s proposal regarding police academies will come before the full council on the 21st of this month.

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