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Tell Oakland's City Council: Defund OPD, Invest in Community
by APTP
Monday May 15th, 2017 11:20 AM
The process of allocating Oakland’s 2.6 billion dollar budget for 2017-2019 has begun. We believe that the scandal-ridden and dysfunctional Oakland Police Department consumes far too many of our city's resources. It’s time to audit police spending and performance, and redirect wasted funds to community-building, constructive strategies for making Oakland a safer and better place to live.
TELL CITY COUNCIL: DEFUND OPD, INVEST IN COMMUNITY

Have you ever wondered:
What do police really spend their time doing?
How much do they make, and why do they get paid so much?
Could we shrink OPD and make Oakland an even safer, better place to live?

The process of allocating Oakland’s 2.6 billion dollar budget for 2017-2019 has begun. We believe that the scandal-ridden and dysfunctional Oakland Police Department consumes far too many of our city's resources. It’s time to audit police spending and performance, and redirect wasted funds to community-building, constructive strategies for making Oakland a safer and better place to live.

Our Demands:

— Perform a detailed, independent, and thorough cost-saving audit of the Oakland Police Department, including the PFRS pension system.

— Reduce the budget allocation of the Oakland Police Department by up to 50% in 2017-2019 budget.

Councilmembers Noel Gallo, Lynette McElhaney, and Annie Campbell Washington have all committed to supporting a cost-saving audit of the Oakland Police Department. Defund OPD, the Anti Police-Terror Project and the people of Oakland expect the same commitment from the rest of the council members at their forums.

Defund OPD will also use the forums to highlight the results of our own preliminary research. Our data came from publicly available payroll (http://www.transparentcalifornia.com) as well public records requests to the City of Oakland, which were reluctantly and only partially fulfilled after many months (and threat of litigation).

In 2016:

— Officers comprised 15% of Oakland’s employees. However, OPD received
• nearly 50% of the city’s General Fund (Oakland’s discretionary budget)
• 35% of total compensation (including benefits) paid by Oakland
• 46% of overtime paid by Oakland
• 54% of “other pay” disbursed by Oakland

— 295 Officers were listed as “part time”, casting confusion on the debate over police staffing levels, and raising questions about the accuracy of the departments own reported statistics.

— Numerous officers, particularly “part time” officers, made more in Overtime and “Other Pay” than they did in base salary.

— On average, Officers’ base salaries made up only 70% of their total take home pay (excluding benefits).

— The past eight years have seen the most dramatic rise in police overtime in recent history, from ~$14 million in 2009–2010 to ~$24 million in 2013–2016.

Based upon the public records requests we filed, Defund OPD learned that Officers are dispatched thousands of times to situations in which they are completely unnecessary and fundamentally unqualified to handle. For example, thousands of calls concerned parking violations, such as a car blocking someone’s driveway. Oakland police officers are the city’s highest paid employees, and we are wasting tons of taxpayer money sending them to wait for tow trucks!

Even more alarmingly, we learned that thousands of dispatch calls are for mental health incidents. The handful of officers that do have Crisis Intervention Training spend a meager 5 hours in a workshop. Contrast this to a licensed social worker, who has approximately 6800 hours of relevant training or mental health professionals who have developed real expertise over years of training, and have de-escalation skills that save lives. Given the increased potential for fatalities (e.g. the killing of Kayla Moore by Berkeley Police during a mental health call), as well as the high liability the City incurs due to a tendency toward rapid escalation to violence when officers interact with people in crisis ($1.03 Million in misconduct settlements in 2015 alone), we cannot afford to keep sending unqualified police officers to these medical emergencies. For the cost of one officer, Oakland could hire 2-3 skilled professionals with the skill set to manage mental health crises with the care and expertise such situations require.

In an attempt to praise OPD’s “reforms” during her recent budget forums, Mayor Schaaf proudly cited some surprising statistics. She claimed that after news of OPD’s sexual exploitation and statutory rape activities broke, OPD reduced their use of force and stop and frisks by about two-thirds. Not surprisingly, this resulted in a similar drop in complaints of police misconduct! What is more surprising is that - according to the mayor - crime dropped in this time period. Others have since disputed her statistics, claiming that violent crime actually remained fairly constant. In either case, these statistics show that it is possible to dramatically reduce the activity of armed cops in our communities without meaningfully decreasing security in those communities.

Simply put: the history, the training, the tools, and the mandate of the police force all consist in the application of coercive violence. And the people of Oakland know that policing is the wrong framework for bringing true security to our communities. Oakland’s budget needs to reflect our values and our priorities.


PLEASE COME OUT TO YOUR LOCAL BUDGET FORUM:

Monday May 8, 6:30-8:30 pm, Councilmember Abel Guillen
St Paul’s Episcopal Church, 114 Montecito Ave

Wednesday May 10, 6:30-8:30 pm, Councilmember Annie Campbell
Bret Harte Middle School, 3700 Coolidge Ave

Saturday May 13, 10am-12pm, Councilmembers Lynette McElhaney & Dan Kalb
Beebe Memorial Church, 3900 Telegraph Ave

Wednesday May 17, 6:30-8:30 pm, Councilmembers Larry Reid & Rebecca Kaplan
Oakland Zoo- Snow Building, 9777 Golf Links Road

Thursday May 18, 6-8pm, Councilmember Desley Brooks
Eastmont Police Dept. Substation, 2651 73rd Ave

Monday May 22, 6-8pm, Councilmember Lynette McElhaney
West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline St

Thursday May 25, 6:30-8:30 pm, Councilmember Abel Guillen
Lincoln Rec Center, 261 11th St. (cantonese interpretation)

Defund OPD will be at each of these budget meetings with information about the police budget, questions to ask, and our demands! Please show up 15 minutes early if possible. More information is available at http://www.defundopd.org.

#DEFUNDOPD #LESSCOPSPLEASE