Oakland mayor pledges to engage community for input on reforming police department

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OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Pledging to engage the community for input on reforming the police department — that is what an East Bay mayor recently did.

KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun spoke to members of a police reform group who say they would like to see the mayor take a different pledge.

Calls for cities to reform their police department’s use-of-force policies are spreading across the nation. To that end, a growing number of mayors like Libby Schaaf in Oakland have signed onto former president Barack Obama’s, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Commit to Action pledge.

Which includes: reviewing police use of force policies, engaging the community for a diverse range of input, report the findings back to the community and reforming the police the use of force policy.

“We’re already doing that but it’s not Mayor Schaaf,” Larry White, with the Coalition for police accountability said. “It’s our own police commission.”

“The police commission has been engaged in this process for about the past five months,” Rashida Grinage, with the coalition for police accountability.

Larry White and Rashidah Grinage of the Coalition for Police Accountability, the organization that helped write measure LL establishing Oakland’s independent police commission, says instead of signing the pledge they think Mayor Schaaf could do other things to promote police reform.

“We would like the mayor to sign a pledge not to weaken the police commission,” Grinage said.

“Their actions will result in some real change in the rules regarding how the police operate,” White said.

Across the Bay, not only did San Francisco Mayor London Breed sign the commit to action pledge, she took it a step further saying she will lead an effort to redirect funding away from SFPD to support the African American community.

However, Oakland city councilmember Dan Kalb says taking money away from OPD would result in less police officers in his city.

“The problem is in the city of Oakland, we already have one of the most understaffed police forces for a city our size, for a city with our crime rate,” Kalb said.

Holding it at just signing the Obama pledge is a better choice for the mayor, says Kalb.

“I totally support that and the commission needs to play a central role in that effort,” Kalb said.

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