Oakland PD strapped for cash

February 25, 2008 9:46:19 PM PST
Chief Wayne Tucker will once again appeal to city leaders tonight, trying to secure the money needed to hire 70 additional officers. The city council delayed the vote last week.

Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker will take over trying to secure those Measure Y funds to hire more police officers. He will speak over the Measure Y Overnighters Committee, as well as the Public Safety Committee.

Oakland police recruits spend their mornings exercising determination. A similar, if not more experienced determination occupies police Chief Wayne Tucker.

"This is without doubt the hardest job I've ever done it's not for the faint of heart," said Chief Wayne Tucker from the Oakland Police Department.

Three years into his job as chief, Tucker wants the City Council to allocate almost $8 million dollars in Measure Y funds to hire and train more police officers. He needs 803 total -- the force is almost 70 officers short.

"I think that the council by way of policy decisions has affected probably 105 of general fund officers. It's left a huge vacuum," said Chief Tucker.

"He has a retirement fund because he's out of the Sheriff's Department, he has a salary from us, he's a well paid CEO and I'm looking to him as the expert," said Oakland City Council member Jane Brunner.

City council member Jane Brunner supports more officers but wants Tucker to provide a specific, long-term plan.

"We try very hard to be accountable. The strategies are being developed. We'll have goals attached to them and they'll be measured on a bi-weekly basis," said Brunner.

Police are already strategizing in North and West Oakland's area one, conducting truancy sweeps and bringing a giant mobile command center right into the neighborhoods.

"We're going to conduct lineups, meetings, complete paperwork out in areas we've identified as dangerous areas, areas where crime has been occurring," said Oakland Police Area One Commander Captain Anthony Toribio.

Chief Tucker says he will start hiring more officers as soon as a week, after the funds are approved. However given the academy's 35-percent attrition rate, his force may never have enough officers.

"This is not rocket science. We can take over any neighborhood we want and turn it back into some sort of livable condition. What we can't do is sustain that effort," said Chief Tucker.

Tucker says he didn't push for funding earlier, because he first had to put in place geographic placing, and that took place last month. The Council will meet on tonight, and then again next Tuesday.