Oakland Police Department

Oakland to Get More Police Officers to Help Fight Crime

"We’ve lost over 46 officers in the last four months, that is a difficult gap to fill"

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In a 6-2 vote, the Oakland City Council voted Tuesday night to fund an additional police academy that will bring more officers to help fight crime. 

The city debated whether to add more police officers to the dwindling force after the department reported its 100th homicide.

Despite the shortage, some community members insisted this was not the answer to fight crime in the area.

Councilmember Sheng Thao wanted to add two more police academies in order to beef up Oakland Police Department's staffing numbers and dozens of Oakland residents participated in the meeting to let the council know where they stand. 

Oakland City Council and residents are divided on whether more police officers are needed or not in the city to combat crime as the city marks its 100th homicide. Melissa Colorado reports.

"I am calling like many callers to push back against a new police academy. We do not need it. We do not want it," said Amanda, Oakland resident.

On the other hand, other residents like Paula Hawthorn said they support the addition of police academies.

"We believe this is the only sensible thing to do at this point in order to address where we are with the violence," she said.

On Monday, Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong lamented the staffing shortage.

"We’ve lost over 46 officers in the last four months, that is a difficult gap to fill," he said. "So we need these academies to fill that gap and we need more officers in the ranks."

Cadets must go through 27 weeks of training and pass several tests in order to become sworn police officers.

"Yeah of course. If it was a good opportunity, I would check it out," said San Ramon resident Davonne Riddick.

Riddick is 22-years-old and was raised in Oakland. He said if the district voted to approve more police academies, it’s a career choice he would consider.

"It would be interesting to see people like me from the community, maybe, join Oakland police."

Those against adding more police academies urged the council to look into the recent shooting of Michael Jonathan Cortez, who was shot and killed by a FBI agent in East Oakland last week. The FBI said Cortez was armed at the time.

According to a Go Fund Me page, Cortez was a father of three.

"More cops do not equate to less crime," said Cat Brooks with the Anti-Police Terror Project.

Riddick thinks the gap between community and police officer should be bridged as, "I think there’s a big gap right now with like, trust and support in the community," Riddick said.

"So much violence, so many guns, so many senseless lives lost," Chief Armstrong said in a news conference Monday. "If this is not a calling to everybody in this community that there is a crisis, I don't know what is."

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