Oakland – The City with Half a Police Department

Police when Jean Quan won council seat, Jan. 2003:
Police when Jean became mayor (Dec. 31, 2010):   658
Police officers employed Aug. 31, 2014:   667

We have a bitter month of tens. Ten officers left the Oakland police department in August, reducing the total number of police to 667 – well under half the staffing maintained by most major cities. Jean Quan has increased police staffing by fewer than ten officers since she took office.

When Jean Quan campaigned for Measure Y in 2004, she insisted it would guarantee 800 police. Instead, the tax began, and staffing went down.

Staffing is so low that the department is unable to respond to entire categories of theft and other crimes, unable to investigate more than a handful of reported crimes, and completely unable to respond to neighborhood crimes when officers are required to work on a riot situation.

In addition to severe understaffing of sworn officers, the police department has four dozen budgeted but unfilled civilian positions, including eleven dispatchers and communications operators who take your 911 calls.

Oakland cannot be a safe city with so few police. The problem is the persistent refusal of the Oakland mayor to make public safety a priority.

Oakland needs at least 1,100 police officers

Oakland – a city plagued by homicides, armed robberies, auto theft and vandalism, as well as continual disruption from boom cars, sideshows, and groups of street dealers – has half a police department, compared to most major cities.

KRON TV confirms ORPN that Oakland has half the police it needs (Nov. 15, 2006)
KRON TV talks to ORPN on police shortage (Click image for 2 min. .WMV video)

Do most other cities waste money on a police force twice the size they need? We don't think so. Oakland has half the officers it needs to maintain public safety. That's why the city ranks as the fourth most dangerous city in the country. That's why a culture of disruption and disrespect dominates our neighborhoods.

Oakland's ostrich crowd (the leaders who ignore our crisis in public safety while prattling forever about social programs) cannot say that poverty is the root cause of our problem. Oakland has a poverty rate typical of large cities, including many that are much safer than Oakland.

For more on police understaffing, browse our archives.

This page is from www.orpn.org