The Oakland City Council Tuesday gave the green light to a plan for two additional police academies.
It was one of several requests the ailing department had made in hopes of boosting its ranks in the face of surging violence.
But the decision comes over the objection of police reformers - who say it may only make the city more dangerous.
Chief LeRonne Armstrong said a majority of outgoing officers blame their low morale on the heavy workload, unappreciation from city leadership and severe discipline.
“I want you to ask yourselves city council members – would you want to be an Oakland police officer right now? I would like to drive down the street during the day without worrying about being shot or attacked for my vehicle,” said Oakland resident Anne Roake.
The Anti-Police Terror Project says OPD is wasting taxpayer money on overtime and points to their new report that claims nearly a third of officers’ time is spent responding to nonviolent issues.
“It’s a manufactured crisis meant to roll back and destroy the reimagination movement and what’s terrifying about this – as Oakland goes, so does this country,” said Car Brooks of the Anti Police terror Project.
But the report doesn’t specify if the city’s civilian crisis response team, which is still in its early stages, is ready to handle those same issues - like animal control, traffic accidents and welfare checks. Faith leaders and community leaders teamed up for a press conference in Oakland’s Chinatown this morning to send this message to the council: “We pay the taxes here and everything we deserve to have protection,” said Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church.
With the council's vote to amend its budget and add two police academies, the city projects there will be 734 officers by 2023.
“We’re losing,” said Jackson. “The community is losing and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf thanked councilmembers who voted to amend its budget to add the academies saying in part, "Our residents spoke up today and their voices were heard. They spoke up for a comprehensive approach to public safety.”