Dellums pushes for crime fighting plan

February 19, 2008 7:42:08 PM PST
Oakland mayor Ron Dellums is pledging to do more to fight crime. That promise comes after a particularly violent week, during which Dellums was mostly out of town.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums fired back at critics who claim he's been absent on the issue of crime.

"That's kind of a cheap shot. You can't be in two places at once. We're doing our jobs," says Dellums.

Last week, while Dellums was in Washington D.C. lobbying congress for infrastructure funding, eight people died in gun violence.

"Is the question 'did you know somebody was going to die when you left town?' If I had known that, I certainly wouldn't have left town, but that's an absurd idea," says Dellums.

Dellums is asking the city council to free up nearly $8 million dollars, in parcel tax money, to bring the city's police force up to the 803 officers mandated by Measure Y, approved by voters in 2004.

"We need 803 police officers, let's get it done!"

"We're going to be looking at that proposal. Sometimes things look better on paper than what they are in reality," says Ignacio De La Fuente, Oakland City Council.

Right now, the city is about 70 officers short of its goal.

"At the same time, our attrition's going to be 70, 75. So it's really 140 we're going to need," says Chief Wayne Tucker, Oakland Police Department.

Some of those new officers might not have a car to drive, since 40 new patrol units have been sitting at a city yard for months, waiting to be equipped with all the latest gadgetry.

Dellums promised the cars will be on the street within 60 days.

Under his leadership, Mayor Dellums claims its a 'new day in Oakland' when it comes to fighting crime, but some business owners have their doubts.

"He's not responding to the community. The community wants to meet with him, wants more detail and he's not responsive," says Scott Silvera, Oakland business owner.

Besides hiring more police, Dellums wants business owners to step forward with more jobs for Oakland's young people, including those just released from prison.