Facing Homicide Spike, Oakland Mayor Reverses Police Cuts

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is pushing to reverse planned cuts to the city’s police department and seeking to quickly hire more officers amid a spike in violence that has produced 127 homicides in 2021 so far, reports the Associated Press. While she still supports diversion efforts, Schaaf said she’ll ask the city council to reverse funding cuts scheduled to take effect next year and would have diverted $18 million to programs that aim to prevent street crime and address homelessness. Schaaf said efforts to shift lower-level policing to other departments and efforts aimed at diverting those convicted to other services have not been enough as police staffing has also fallen one officer below a 2014 voter-approved measure that requires the police department to have at least 678 sworn officers on staff. The union that represents Oakland police called the dwindling number of officers “yet another broken promise to Oakland residents by the ‘defund-the-police’ majority on city council.”

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