Last year, the city of Oakland joined many other blue, Democrat-run cities around the nation in slashing the budget of its police department, leading to an exodus of uniformed officers. The results of those changes were entirely predictable and began almost immediately. Since then, the number of shootings, robberies and other crimes in most categories has steadily claimed. Just this week, a one-year-old boy was shot dead while sitting in his mother’s car. Stores around the area are closing because they are regularly having their shelves emptied by looters. Apparently, all of this has finally become too much for one of the arguably worst mayors in the country, Libby Schaaf. Yesterday she told reporters that she’s planning to reverse the cuts to the police budget and recruit more officers to bring the force up to full staffing. The problem is, she may not be able to do it on her own. (Daily Mail)
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf on Monday revealed plans to reverse cuts to the city’s police department and seek to hire more officers amid a spike in violence and homicides.
The decision makes Oakland the latest city to bolster its support for law enforcement after several cities that committed to defunding the police in the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020 experienced a considerable rise in violent crime.
The mayor’s announcement came after a weekend that saw three people gunned down, including retired police officer and father of two Kevin Nishita, and a 1-year-old boy hit by a stray bullet as he sat in the back of his mother’s car.
While this is a welcome – if long overdue – development, Schaaf wasn’t saying that she can restore the Oakland PD with the wave of a magic wand. She said that she is planning to “ask the city council to reverse funding cuts.” She will also “ask” them to bring the size of the police force back up to at least 678 officers and restart the violent crime reduction program that was previously terminated. Here’s a quick quiz question for the readers. If you terminate your violent crime reduction program, what happens? If you said “violent crime increases,” give yourself a cookie.
The City Council is under no obligation to do this, of course, and many of its member specifically campaigned on a promise to defund or abolish the police and “shift” many of the duties of the cops to civilian “resource officers” without firearms. We’ve all seen how that’s worked out so far.
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong held a separate press conference, saying, “I’m asking council members to step up and start having a conversation about the loss of life in this city.’
Schaaf’s proposal raises two obvious questions. First, at least when it comes to restaffing the police department, will they be able to find enough new recruits or former officers who are willing to put on a badge and go to work in a city that’s generally treated its cops like something they need to scrape off the bottom of its shoe? That may be even more difficult when states like Florida and Indiana are conducting recruiting programs designed at luring experienced officers away with promises of better pay and, far more importantly, the proper level of respect.
The other question is whether or not Schaaf will even have the chance to try. If the City Council refuses the request and sticks to their (lack of) guns, there aren’t many options unless the citizens gather signatures and pass a referendum to force the issue. But that would take at least the better part of a year. Speaking of which, in a little less than a year there will be a new round of elections. If the City Council refuses to act, will the citizens of Oakland stand up and boot them all out in favor of candidates who vow to rebuild the police department and restore law and order?
If the answer to that last question is “no,” then I see no reason for any of us to have an ounce of sympathy for the people of Oakland. Leave the city in the hands of the gangs and see how well they like it. It’s what they will deserve at that point. I’d apologize for taking such a seemingly heartless stance, but I’m honestly not in the least bit sorry.