Safety still a high priority for Oakland

November 3, 2010 7:32:33 PM PDT
The ballot counting will go on for days, Oakland may not know who its new mayor is, but that's not stopping the early front runner from outlining what his first order of business would be.

"Rehire the 80 police positions. I think we have to demonstrate some real progress early on," Oakland mayoral candidate Don Perata said.

But when it comes to policing in this crime-plagued city, Oakland voters sent a mixed mid-term message. They said 'no' to a parcel tax that would have prevented more police layoffs, and 'yes' to a measure that modifies an existing tax, making it possible for the police department to bring back 63 problem solving officers who work directly in the community.

New officers will not likely be re-hired, but rather, a new batch of problem solving officers will be shuffled from other positions and other areas investigations and motor patrol may now have fewer officers.

"Nobody needs to be laid off, we're safe for this year," Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner said.

Brunner can't reassure Oakland that there won't be more layoffs next year. The election results mean it likely won't be the high number officials predicted.

Brunner Perata's run for mayor, but even she doesn't know how he'll come up with the money to rehire the laid off cops.

"I don't know, I'm going to work closely with don. I don't know where he actually thinks the money is. it's clearly not in general fund," Brunner said.

Currently, Oakland has 674 officers on the force and the Oakland Police Department Chief Anthony Batts says there should be 900. The layoffs came after a battle with the police union, but will there be concessions now?

"At this point we're just waiting to see what the leadership is going to be and we haven't even gone down that road," Police Union President Dom Arotzarena said.

A road with a new mayor somewhere at the end of it.


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