Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has reversed her decision to divert funding from the police to social services and said Monday that she’ll push to reverse planned cuts to the city’s police department.
She also seeks to quickly hire more officers in the midst of a spike in violence and homicides that has left some residents afraid to leave their homes. The number of homicides this year is currently at 127.
To address the violence, Schaaf said she’ll ask the city council to reverse funding cuts scheduled to take effect next year. “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 Oakland City Council also voted in June to spend $18 million on programs that aim to prevent street crime and address homelessness.
Oakland is not the only city forced to change course due to 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.
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.”
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.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE
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