Oakland police chief says limited resources restricts ability to respond to emergency calls

ByAnser Hassan via KGO logo
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong says the weekend violence had his department struggling to allocate resources to effectively respond to calls.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- At least four people are dead, and one with life-threatening injuries, from several separate shooting incidents over the weekend in Oakland, according to law enforcement.

Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong says the violence had his department struggling to allocate resources to effectively respond to calls.

"We dealt with several incidents, including homicide, shootings, illegal side show activity, robberies," says Armstrong.

Police say the first shooting happened on Friday. Another shooting occurred in the 1400 block of Webster Street at 12:15 a.m. Saturday. According to police, they found a man with gunshot wounds and rendered aid until medical personnel arrived and relieved them.

The man was taken to the hospital where police said he is in grave condition with injuries police described as life-threatening.

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Just hours later at 3:15 a.m. officers responded to a shooting in the 1700 block of Broadway. One victim, a man, was pronounced dead at the hospital and two others, one woman and one man, are in stable condition at the hospital, police said. All three were hit by gunfire, according to police.

"This was a chaotic scene. One in which it appears clubs in the area had just closed. And there were hundreds of people out in the street," says Armstrong.

With officers responding to calls around the city, when a call came in about a cannabis business being robbed, Chief Armstrong says there just weren't the resources available to respond.

"I apologize to the business owners that we did not have the resources to respond in a timely manner to their burglary, but every resources we had was dedicated to saving lives and protecting the community," says Armstrong. "You can't rely on the police department to solve everything. We won't be able to do it. We just don't have the resources."

"We would ask: What amount is enough?" says James Burch, police director at the Anti-Police Terror Project. The organization works to end police violence in communities of color.

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Despite calls to defund the police, Burch points to the City of Oakland increasing police funding and officer pay over the past few years. Burch acknowledges the Oakland Police Department's staffing shortage and retention issues, but he blames department leadership for problems in handling service calls.

"They can't seemingly get a handle on how to send people to right place at the right time. That is their issue, right? They get more than $300 million dollars a year. And it is asinine to hear them claim that they don't have enough resources to dispatch appropriately for the relatively small number of calls that are for acts of violence in the City of Oakland," says Burch.

On Sunday, another shooting claimed the life of an Oakland man at 4:30 p.m. in the 1300 block of 42nd Avenue. Police said a community member called 911 to report that someone was shot.

Officers located the victim who was taken to a hospital where he died, according to police.

Just minutes later, a shooting occurred at 4:42 p.m. Sunday in the 1400 block of 55th Avenue.

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Police said officers saw the shooting happen and subsequently recovered a gun as well as arresting the suspect, who has been identified as a Concord resident. Thankfully, no one was reportedly injured in this incident.

Then later Sunday night, officers responded to a shooting in the 1200 block of 84th Avenue in East Oakland. Someone called police and reported the shooting.

Officers as well as firefighters and paramedics responded. The man was taken to a hospital where he died, police said.

Chief Armstrong says, following this weekend's violence, the police department will reevaluate the strategy for next weekend. And longer-term, it will continue to shift resources to violence prevention.

Police will not share the victims' identities until their families can be reached.

Oakland police report there have been 73 homicides this year compared to 78 same time last year.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Homicide Section at (510) 238-3821 or the tipline at (510) 238-7950.

Bay City News contributed to this story.

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