COUNCIL PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE SHENG THAO INTRODUCES IMMEDIATE POLICE HIRING PLAN TO ADDRESS OPD VACANCIES, SURGE IN CRIME & 911 RESPONSE TIME
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 1st, 2021
Brandon Harami, Council Aide
Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao and community and business leaders
Press Conference to announce new legislation
Thursday, December 2nd at 9:00am
Zoom - Click here
Oakland, California - Calling the City’s efforts to fill it’s 60 vacant police officers positions, “an unacceptable failure”, Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao is introducing a new hiring incentive program for OPD that will focus on immediately filling officer vacancies. The program will provide significant cash incentives for experienced police officers and Oakland residents to join OPD. This will improve the Oakland Police Department’s 911 response time, provide the ability to increase the numbers of visible patrol officers, and allow for the expansion of the Ceasefire program.
Thao’s legislation calls for partnership with an outside hiring agency to conduct a nationwide search for “strongly qualified and experienced lateral police officers”, who are officers that have already gone through police training and are currently serving their respective police department.
“No one is coming to save us, we're going to have to save ourselves. That means being aggressive, creative, and disruptive as we look to do things differently at City Hall, because the results are in and what we are doing isn’t working”.
“I am introducing a plan to help the City Administration speed up recruitment as well as help save the city dollars and time when filling key vacancies,” explained Sheng Thao, “My plan will make Oakland more competitive in its work to hire seasoned, quality officers from across the nation.” This legislation is supported by a broad community coalition from Oakland.
Superintendent Dr. Billy G. Dixon Jr states, “This is a great program that will attract more Oakland residents to join our police force, allow for more support of our successful ceasefire program, strengthen the city’s community policing and attract a talented, diverse pool of officers from around the country.”
This effort, in combination with Councilmember Thao’s work in September to secure additional police training academies and provide the overtime OPD is using for walking beats in business corridors during the holidays, reaffirms Councilmember Thao’s commitment to ensuring our business corridors are safe, that small businesses can thrive in Oakland and that residents can be assured that crimes will be investigated and police more visible. Additionally, Thao’s proposal will not take away any of the historical investments Thao and 5 other Councilmembers approved for violence prevention programs.
Daniel Swafford, Executive Director of the Laurel Business Association and Montclair Business Improvement District states, “I want to thank Councilmember Sheng Thao for her work prioritizing small businesses, our neighborhood commercial districts, and the public safety and health of our communities. Councilmember Thao has brought real, tangible resources to small businesses and their neighborhoods and this legislation is another example of her ability to listen to concerns and provide solutions. I hope the rest of the City Council will vote for this resolution and that the City Administration will push implementation forward.”
Councilmember Thao states: “Being a city leader means breaking through the discourse and finding solutions that are effective and holistic. While important violence prevention programs like Ceasefire and Town Nights continue to focus on the important community-building that is necessary, it is important that the city improve its 911 response times and ensure nobody is waiting hours for help. Equally, it is important that OPD is supported and staffed at the levels that the Council has already authorized and funded.”
The Council passed a budget in June and the Administration, who reports to the mayor, is responsible to implement it. Currently, the city has hired and deployed fewer officers than the number approved by Council in June (number of officers approved and funded is 737). Thao’s plan to rapidly fill the vacancies will help ensure the public is provided with the resources that have been approved and funded.