City of Oakland Slashes Police Budget by $18M
Yesterday (June 24), the City Council of Oakland voted to reduce the police department budget by $18 million over two years, instead using those funds for violence protection and social services.Council president Nikki Fortunato Bas— along with Councilmembers Kalb, Gallo, and Fife— had proposed to significantly cut the police budget as presented by Mayor Libby Schaaf. Critics say that the vote "decimated" 9-1-1 response and reduces police staffing significantly.
Fortunato Bas' amendments to Schaaf's budget will lead to cutting the number of police academies from the four that Schaaf proposed to two in the first year and freezes the vacant sworn officer positions in the Tactical Operations Unit that responds to 9-1-1 calls in the second year of the budget cycle. Councilmember Loren Taylor had also proposed a compromise that would have allowed for 3 academies, but that was ultimately rejected.
The homicide rate in Oakland is double that of this time last year.According to the Mayor's office, the 2018-19 year in which Oakland was praised for dramatically reducing homicides there were 747 officers on the force, 30 more than there are currently. According to Assistant Police Chief Darren Allison, the department is authorized to have 788 officers. Read more in the East Bay Times.