In December 2020, the Oakland Mayor and City Administrator made a series of budget cuts with no public hearing, no input from the council, and no public vote. These cuts have included cuts to fire stations, police foot patrol and truce. On June 21, 2021, the Oakland Police Officers Association published a misinformation press release holding Oakland City Council responsible for the December 2020 cuts in the Oakland Police Department’s foot patrol and crime-fighting units (“OPD”). In their press release they stated,
“In December, the Department of Transportation, all Foot Patrol Squads and officers assigned to the Crime Reduction Teams were disbanded. That was not enough for this advice. ”
Earlier this week, Mayor Libby Schaaf sent out an “Action Alert” email with misinformation about ceasefire cuts. In fact, these cuts were made by the city administration and the mayor without any public or city council intervention. In April, Oakland City Council voted unanimously to approve the budget allocations I have put in place to RESTORE these and other vital ministries such as Operation Armistice, the Community Security Ambassador, and all fire stations.
Email from Mayor Schaaf:
I have continuously advocated and provided funding for OPD to respond to violent crimes, such as filling vacancies in gun tracking, the OPD missing person unit, and 9-1-1 dispatchers. The aim is to make intelligent and effective decisions about operations and to react in good time to urgent situations such as ongoing armed robbery. For example, the decision in early summer by former Oakland Interim Police Chief Susan Manheimer to instruct hundreds of police officers to stay downtown and watch peaceful protesters was not the most effective and efficient use of law enforcement resources while requiring urgent response and follow-up about armed robbery was absent. Better use of sworn personnel would have been to ensure presence in community and trade corridors that have been subjected to armed robbery across the city. In December 2020, the council spoke as it passed my law making gun violence a top priority for the city of Oakland.
Legislation Gun violence Top prosecution: https://oakland.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4663472&GUID=D58CD08E-966B-4DB7-AFCC-734A5D55D30A
Gun violence should make us all acknowledge the pain and grief – and insist on full implementation of meaningful solutions. This must include the full implementation of the Council-funded work to track down and shut down the sources of illegal weapons – which benefit from selling the death machinery to our communities. It is no time for revisionist history. In December, I spoke out firmly against the mayor’s devastating cuts to gun violence programs. In April I fought for important budget changes with my fellow city councilors. The changes included the full restoration of programs like Operation Ceasefire as well as the expansion of initiatives like ShotSpotter, both of which help reduce gun violence. As the Council ponders the budgetary changes put forward by President Bas and her budget team, we must continue work on reshaping public security and investing in other vital services that our community needs and deserves.