Oakland police union wants officers hired back

September 30, 2010 12:13:09 PM PDT
In Oakland, the police officers' union and the city are going at it, with each other, over the declining number of officers on the job, as the city deals with severe budget cuts. The city administrator says he will not replace any officers who retire, until he sees how many officers the public is willing to pay for on Election Day.

Fifteen officers have either quit or retired since July in Oakland and two more are leaving next week -- leaving the force with some openings which the police officers association wants filled now. But the city administrator says why bring them back on the force just to have them let go again should voters reject Measure X on the November ballot.

The department took a major hit in July when 80 officers were let go to close the city's budget problem.

Measure X would bring dozens of officers back on the force by imposing a parcel tax of $360. The police union says between now and the election it is a matter of public and officer safety to put every funded officer on the force -- even if it's just for a few weeks.

"There is money to do this and they are underfunding us and they said they are going to fund us a certain amount - then bring officers back. If they have to lay them off next year then do, but in the mean time at least have a full staff. So they need to do that," said police union president Sgt. Dom Arotzarena.

"If we were to bring back one, or two, or three, or four police officers and after that measure fails - then the number of people to be laid off will be even higher - so it makes no sense. Not because we don't want to do it but because we have to be realistic about what's going to happen," said Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.

De La Fuente says he opposes Measure X because the time has come to get by with less. He says every poll he has seen shows the measure losing.


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