Dellums gives State of the City address

January 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums is calling for more police protection on the streets in his State of the City address. The mayor is expected to focus on crime, economic development and children's health. These are issues that were priorities when he ran for office.

"In Oakland, I don't know if you know this or not, 3,000 people re-enter Oakland as ex-offenders," said Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

In his "State of the City" address, mayor Ron Dellums committed to hiring 69 more police officers by year's end. A commitment to protect people, like Derak Ray, who says a trip to the corner store can kill you.

"Just going to the store to buy some juice, someone might scuff the shoe. That's an altercation in the making right there," said Oakland resident Derak Ray.

Last year, 127 people were murdered, but reaching 803 officers is an ambitious goal. Already, about four officers are retiring each month and the competition for new recruits is fierce.

San Francisco has to hire 250 by the end of the year.

"So we're all recruiting from the same pool of applicants. Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

"It's doable, but we'll need to sit down and do some really quick planning. We'll start in the morning," said Chief Wayne Tucker from the Oakland Police Department.

Dellums also promoted the city's new policing strategy. On Saturday, it officially divided the city up onto three sectors.

"Now we have true community policing where the community and police come together where we organize all of our services into those three public safety areas," said Dellums.

A comprehensive housing plan is also in the works.

"People who live in Oakland will have the right to live in Oakland. We will not sacrifice the diversity and richness of this community," said Dellums.

Dellums said education, economic development and healthcare are all intertwined. Now critics who say mayor Dellums did not take much action in his first year will be watching to see if he can fulfill tonight's promises.