Oakland's new resolution aims to grow and retain police staffing, increase video surveillance

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Thursday, September 21, 2023
Oakland's new resolution aims at rising crime, staffing issues
Oakland City Council passed a new resolution aiming to grow and retain police department staffing and increase video surveillance.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Tuesday's Oakland City Council meeting went on for almost 12 hours. There was much public outcry over the city missing out on millions in state funding because city staff missed a grant deadline.

The city also passed a resolution aimed at public safety.

"It takes a comprehensive approach to address crime, to reduce crime, and make our neighborhoods safer for everybody," says Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, who represents District 1.

Kalb says his resolution that passed Tuesday night is a new, more comprehensive strategy to increase public safety, one that "moves the city forward, pushed OPD to do more, and directs the city administrator to move forward on a range of things."

RELATED: Oakland community leaders frustrated after city misses out on millions to fight retail crime

The resolution aims to fix staffing problems at Oakland's 911 dispatch center by finding ways to recruit and retain staff. It requests the FBI's help to investigate crimes. It also considers lateral police academies, which means bringing in police officers from other jurisdictions. And, to install high-tech cameras on freeway on-ramps and in business corridors.

The city would create a grant program allowing business associations to purchase the cameras and install them on private property. Kalb says the Oakland Police Department would have access to those cameras.

The resolution also establishes permanent neighborhood beat officers, expands the Ceasefire program and funds re-entry services.

"Vital re-entry services, which are crucial to reducing crime and helping people throughout Alameda County," Kalb said.

RELATED: Oakland loses out on millions in grant to fight retail crime due to missed application deadline

But some of the proposals have community groups concerned.

"There has been so much focus on investing in the response, to what we call crime," says James Burch with the Anti-Police Terror Organization. "What we need to be doing is investing in our youth, investing in Oaklanders, to ensure that these thefts don't happen in the first place."

Burch applauds the city for taking a more comprehensive approach to public safety. But he has concerns with the resolution that passed.

"Lateral academies are known as 'bad cop academies.' It is an opportunity for cops who fail out or who can't cut it, or commit misconduct in other municipalities, other counties, other districts, to find a new job. So, you are basically recruiting the worst of the worst," said Burch, although, Kalb says the proposal calls for an investigation into an officer's past record.

MORE: Oakland leaders announce $2.5 million funding to improve 911 response times

Burch also points out that the Oakland Police Department is still under federal oversight, and there is still mistrust of police within the community.

"How do we expect them to uphold the privacy rights of civilians with an even larger, more expanded camera network?" Burch said.

Councilmember Kalb says city staff have until December to come up with a status report for each proposal.

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