Oakland mayor seeks to reverse police cuts amid crime spike

Nov 29, 2021, 4:12 PM | Updated: 10:38 pm
FILE - Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., on July 26, 2021....

FILE - Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf speaks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., on July 26, 2021. Oakland officials will reverse plans to cut police funding and seek to hire more officers as soon as possible, Mayor Schaaf said Monday, Nove. 29, 2021, as a spate of gun violence and fatal shootings has left residents on edge. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In a reversal of plans to divert funding from police to social services, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said Monday that she’ll push to reverse planned cuts to the city’s police department and seek to quickly hire more officers amid a spike in violence and homicides that has left some residents afraid to leave their homes.

The mayor’s announcement came after a weekend in which three people were killed, including a retired police officer acting as a security guard for a television news crew, bringing the number of homicides to 127 so far this year.

To address the violence, Schaaf said she’ll ask the city council to reverse funding cuts scheduled to take effect next year, though she still supports diversion efforts.

“When those messages and services are not effective … the consequences must be swift and certain,” Schaaf told reporters Monday on a Zoom call. “There is nothing progressive about unbridled gun violence.”

Amid a nationwide movement to shift funding away from police budgets after the killing of George Floyd, the progressive Oakland City Council also voted in June to spend $18 million on programs that aim to prevent street crime and address homelessness.

Oakland is among other liberal cities having to change course amid a spike in crime.

In June 2020, the Portland City Council and the mayor cut millions from the police budget. Earlier this month, the council unanimously passed a fall budget bump that included increasing the current $230 million police budget by an additional $5.2 million.

From New York City to Los Angeles — in cities that had some of the largest Black Lives Matter protests, and some with an extensive history of police brutality — police departments are seeing their finances partially restored in response to rising homicides, an officer exodus and political pressures.

Schaaf said efforts to shift lower-level policing to other departments and efforts aimed at diverting those convicted to other services have not been enough.

Police staffing has also fallen one officer below a 2014 voter-approved measure that requires the police department to have at least 678 sworn officers on staff. Schaaf said the department will boost its recruiting efforts.

That measure requires the city to have at least 678 officers to access funding from a parcel tax.

The union that represents Oakland police called the dwindling number of officers “yet another broken promise to Oakland residents by the “defund-the-police” majority on city council.”

Among the other high-profile deaths was the death of a 1-year-old boy who was hit and killed by a stray bullet on an Oakland freeway while he slept in his car seat as his mother drove on a Saturday afternoon. Officials say the vehicle likely got caught in the crossfire of two vehicles exchanging gunfire.

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said in a news conference last week that the police department needs help and asked city council members to “step up” and put aside their political differences to address crime, KPIX-TV reported.

____

A previous version of this story said that $18 million in the Oakland city budget would be diverted to crime diversion and outreach. The $18 million in spending comes on top of the police budget, which is scheduled to be cut.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, former Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh and her attorney St...
Associated Press

‘Healthy Holly’ mayor moves from prison to local supervision

BALTIMORE (AP) — A former Baltimore mayor serving a three-year sentence for a self-dealing scandal over children’s books has left an Alabama federal prison for community confinement in the Baltimore area, the Bureau of Prisons confirmed Wednesday. Catherine Pugh, 71, transferred out of the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Aliceville, Alabama, on Tuesday, and will […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Biden administration cans lease agreements for proposed mine

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Biden administration on Wednesday canceled a move by former President Donald Trump to renew mineral rights leases for a proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. Trump had signed an order a month before the 2020 presidential election declaring a national emergency over the country’s reliance on imported metals used […]
13 hours ago
FILE - Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominated to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Cir...
Associated Press

Biden has long been preparing for a Supreme Court pick

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has already narrowed the field for his first Supreme Court pick. Biden said as a presidential candidate that if he were given the chance to nominate someone to the court, he would make history by choosing a Black woman. And word on Wednesday that Justice Stephen Breyer plans to […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Labor authority tries again to end immigration judges union

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal labor authority has sought for a second time to strip the collective bargaining powers of a national union for U.S. immigration judges, even though the agency that employs the judges isn’t opposing their right to organize. In a ruling late last week, the Federal Labor Relations Authority determined that the […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

South Dakota House committee approves trans athlete ban

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota House committee on Wednesday approved a proposal from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem to ban transgender women and girls from competing in school sports leagues that match their gender identity. All 11 Republicans on the House State Affairs committee voted in favor of the bill, which has been cast […]
13 hours ago
Sarah Kelly is shown Friday, Jan. 21, 2022, in Huntington, W.Va. After struggling with an opioid ad...
Associated Press

An opioid-ravaged West Virginia town awaits trial verdict

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Sarah Kelly recalls the fleeting moments when she reached out for help during a decadeslong opioid addiction, only to find out no residential treatment beds were available in an overloaded system in her corner of West Virginia. In the hardest-hit county in the nation’s worst-hit state for drug overdose deaths per […]
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona State University

This is the best year to get your MBA

Getting a master’s degree is a major commitment of time, energy, and money, so returning to school — even if you’re thinking about a part-time program that allows you to keep working — is one of the biggest decisions of your career.
...
Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Oakland mayor seeks to reverse police cuts amid crime spike