The "Great Resignation" happening across the country appears to include Oakland police officers.
The police union says officers – including rookie cops – are leaving the struggling police department for other departments across the Bay Area.
But now, the police union says the department’s staffing has dropped so low, that it’s putting millions of parcel tax funding in jeopardy -- and it couldn’t come at a worse time.
“We appreciate their sacrifice and their service so much,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.
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On the day before Thanksgiving, Schaaf is thankful for the hundreds of police officers who are still showing up for work in light of a violent week that included organized retail thefts, carjackings and two cases of suspects shooting at officers.
“They’re leaving in numbers we’ve never seen before,” said Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland police Officers’ Association.
Officers were so inundated with 911 calls this weekend that the union says, police had to call in off-duty officers for backup.
“We were entirely overwhelmed with the staff that we had – even by bringing in those officers, it didn’t fully stem the violence,” said Donelan.
On Wednesday morning, Donelan wrote an op-ed in the East Bay Times, warning that too many officers were dropping out for the force because of low-morale. By the time NBC Bay Area caught up with him around noon, Donelan says OPD’s numbers had sunken even further.
“We have another senior officer retiring this weekend, we have hit 678 today,” he said.
Donelan added that this weekend alone, three rookie cops quit to work elsewhere. So where are they going? The top contenders – Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Fremont, Hayward and the Santa Rosa Police Departments.
“We’re not able to hire as quickly as these young officers are leaving elsewhere,” said Donelan.
The mayor says she wants the council to come up with a hiring plan so that the city can keep millions of public safety funding that is tied to keeping police staffing levels at a minimum of 678 officers.
“Now I will be calling on the governor for more external resources as I have before,” said Schaaf. “I am furious that we are even in this position to begin with.”