Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Get More Police Officers on the Streets of Oakland

That was the message at the Oakland City Council Finance and Management committee on Tuesday.  Chairperson Libby Schaaf, along with Council President Pat Kernighan and President Pro Tem Rebecca Kaplan (fourth committee member Desley Brooks was absent) voted unanimously to approve the resolutions that will authorize the expedited hiring of 20 police technicians and one fingerprint examiner; bring eleven Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs on patrol in Oakland two days a week; and commit needed funds to begin to prepare for a Police Academy that would start in September 2013 (it would be the third Academy to start since September 2012).

All three matters now go to the full Council for approval on January 22.  All three resolutions were authored by Schaaf and Vice Mayor Reid and supported by Police Chief Howard Jordan, City Administrator Deanna Santana and Mayor Jean Quan.
It was noted that all three resolutions are meant to get more patrol officers on the streets.  By hiring more technicians the hope is not only that more evidence will be gathered and hence more crimes solved, but also that sworn officers now handling those tasks will be able to return to patrol. 

By authorizing preliminary steps needed to start an Academy in September the City sticks to its commitment to run academies for the foreseeable future.  With a current sworn staff at OPD of 613 officers and attrition averaging 4.25 officers/month new officers are needed.  Academy‚Äôs start with 55 trainees and usually graduate about 409 who then need 6 months of field training.  This means two academies a year would produce about 80 new officers, replacing 51 who would retire or otherwise leave the force. 

Given the low number officers (OPD was at 803 officers just about 3 years ago) and the time it takes to staff up the third item, a temporary agreement with the Alameda County Sheriff to bring officers on patrol in Oakland is timely.  And police staff noted that the deputies will be deployed to areas and at times identified by crime statistics as especially in need of additional law enforcement attention.


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