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 March 31, 2014:   611

At 611 officers, the department has fewer officers than it had at the beginning of 2013. Mayor Quan's talk all that time about rebuilding the department has been nothing but hot air.

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.

Sycophants of mayor Quan will no doubt shout about the 47 police academy graduates who received their badges April 4, 2014. Oakland welcomes them! The fact remains that in the preceding year, recruitment of new officers was canceled out by resignations and retirements. Oakland needs hundreds more police. Mayor Quan's recipe of limping along in the range of 600 to 700 officers is a program of less public safety, not more.

In addition to severe understaffing of sworn officers, the police department has dozens of budgeted but unfilled civilian positions, including eight dispatchers and communications operators who take your 911 calls, as well as four evidence technicians and eleven positions for the staff who handle crime reports and other records.

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