Wednesday, July 17, 2013

OPD talks to business owners on plans for future protests


About 50 business owners and concerned citizens attended a briefing at the Chamber today with Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent.  The Chief acknowledged OPD was not prepared for Saturday nights protest but told business owners steps have been taken to beef up patrols in the days ahead.

When police do attempt to arrest someone suspected of violence, destruction of property or some other offense, the Chief said others in the crowd interfere with the officers and attempt to free the suspect.  This means in crowd situations OPD needs more officers to make even just one arrest.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley who also attended told the group that in this type of situation it is legal to arrest someone who is wearing a mask and carrying a hammer or spray paint.  Many in the group applauded the idea of taking steps against someone with clear criminal intent before someone gets hurt or property is destroyed.

As those in attendance knew OPD is seriously understaffed.  And during a normal shift fewer officers than you might imagine patrol the entire city.  Chief Whent said strategies like extended shifts, double shifts and cancelled time off were being used to add officers over the next few days and when problems are anticipated.

OPD did call on mutual aid assistance Monday night and that brought extra officers from neighboring jurisdictions.  Mutual aid is only available when there is an emergency – not in preparation for one.  Chief Whent did indicate he is talking with other law enforcement agencies to support in ways they can short of mutual aid.

For people who are able to take video of any criminal activity they were encouraged to send it to the following e-mail address - for follow up by OPD.

Next Steps

What more can we do as a business community?

There is no doubt that over the long term and immediately political leadership is important.  Contact your council member and the Mayor and let them know that more needs to be done to address this crime problem.  The more includes finding ways to increase the number of uniformed police officers on the street, through more hiring, contracts with outside agencies and civilianizing as much work as possible to free uniformed officers for patrol. It will likely require support for a new parcel tax when Measure Y expires at the end of 2014.  
Click here to find out who your councilmember is and how to contact them:

We need to find ways to make the statement that violence and the destruction of property are NOT ACCEPTABLE here in Oakland. 

Contact Paul Junge at the Chamber (510) 874-4817 or with your ideas on what we can do together to keep our city safe.

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