In December of 2020, the Oakland Mayor and City Administrator made a set of budget cuts, with no public hearing, no input from the council, and no public vote. Those cuts included cuts to fire stations, police foot patrol, and Ceasefire. On June 21, 2021, the Oakland Police Officers Association put out a press release with misinformation, blaming the Oakland City Council for the December 2020 cuts to the Oakland Police Department (“OPD”) Foot Patrols and Crime Reduction units. In their press release they stated,
“In December the Police Department’s Traffic Division, all Foot Patrol Squads and officers assigned to Crime Reduction Teams were disbanded. For this Council that was not enough.“
Earlier this week, Mayor Libby Schaaf sent out an “Action Alert” email with misinformation regarding cuts to Ceasefire. When in fact these cuts were made by the City Administration and the Mayor without input from the public or City Council. In April, the Oakland City Council unanimously voted to approve the Budget Allocations I introduced to RESTORE these and other vital services such as Operation Ceasefire, Community safety ambassadors, and all fire stations.
Mayor Schaaf’s email:
Link to City Administration Budget Cuts:
March 13, 2021, Oakland News Now, “Rebecca Kaplan Calls for Oakland News Funding to Be Used to Restore Vital City Services”: https://oaklandnewsnow.com/rebecca-kaplan-calls-oakland-new-funding-to-be-used-to-restore-vital-city-services/81819/
Link to April 2021 Budget Amendments:
I have continuously advocated and allocated funding for OPD to respond to violent crime, such as filling vacant positions in gun tracing, OPD’s missing persons unit, and 9-1-1 dispatchers. The goal is to make smart and effective choices about deployments, and timely response to urgent situations like armed robberies in progress. For example, the choice by former interim Oakland Police Chief Susan Manheimer in the early summer to order hundreds of Police Officers to stay downtown watching peaceful protesters was not the most effective and efficient use of law enforcement resources, while urgent needs for response and follow up on armed robberies was lacking. A better use of sworn personnel would have been to ensure presence in community and commercial corridors that faced armed robberies throughout the city. In December of 2020, Council spoke when it passed my legislation making gun violence a top priority for the City of Oakland.
Legislation Gun Violence Top Law Enforcement : https://oakland.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=4663472&GUID=D58CD08E-966B-4DB7-AFCC-734A5D55D30A
The devastation of gun violence should have us all acknowledging the pain and mourning — and insisting on full implementation of meaningful solutions. This needs to include fully implementing the council-funded work for tracing and shutting down the sources of illegal guns - who are profiting from selling the machinery of death into our communities. It is not a time for revisionist history. In December, I strongly opposed the mayor's devastating cuts to programs dealing with gun violence. In April, I fought, alongside my City Council colleagues, for important budget amendments. Included in the amendments was the full restoration of programs like Operation Ceasefire, as well as the expansion of initiatives such as ShotSpotter, both of which help reduce gun violence. As the Council contemplates the budget amendments put forward by Council President Bas and her budget team, we must continue the work of reimagining public safety and investing in the other vital services that our community needs and deserves.