What Does the OPD Budget Really Mean?

July 16, 2021

There has been a lot of discussion the last few days about the recently adopted budget for the Oakland Police Department. But a discussion of budgeted amounts really obscures the reality of what the new budget means in terms of providing police service demanded by the crime in our city. MOBN! believes necessary police services are not being provided. Let’s be clear we have supported MACRO from the beginning and we support efforts to civilianize functions. But this will take years to accomplish. In the meantime, Oakland is suffering from huge increases in crime! In this post we will try to go behind the numbers and tell you what it means in staff and, more importantly providing the police service needed by our city.  Here is our recap of where we are as a result of the adopted OPD budget:

  • Here are the budgeted or spent amounts (FY2020-21). The sworn cost of living amounts (COLA) means the same officers at greater cost. We don’t have the cost of the civilian pay.

         2020-21   $316.57 million per mid-cycle budget adjustment

         2021-22   $333.46 million (Sworn COLA $7.50 million)

         2022-23   $340.91 million (Sworn COLA $11.00 million)

  • Positions Frozen in 2022-23 budget-50.
  • Number officers now-714
  • Below 700 by 12/21 w/mandatory overtime required to achieve necessary coverage per Chief Armstrong.
  • Only 2 Academies per year providing 60 officers at the most while normal attrition of 65 officers will continue to shrink OPD below 700 officers.
  • Measure Z funds of $30 million per year could be lost if we shrink below 678 officers.

MOBN! has the following comments on the OPD budget:

1.There have been numerous comments about the budget being an increase. However, that misses the fact that the 2021-23 budget is the first time OPD has accurately budgeted for the services it has been authorized to provide but was not been adequately funded to provide. In the past overtime as been used to cover this inconvenient fact. The proposed budget was a rightsized budget for necessary services and the cuts by Council ignore that inconvenient fact.    

2. The vacant positions will significantly affect necessary services such as the understaffing of Ceasefire, Community Resource Officers criminal investigations, and traffic enforcement as well as the negative effects on officers of forced overtime. Response time for 911 calls could greatly increase. Significantly the freeze will be to positions in various functions as they become vacant but not as the result of a thoughtful process which prioritizes service. This is poor micro management by the Council.

The Council should immediately mitigate many of these problems by unfreezing positions, get Ceasefire staffed up, put Community Resource Officers back in field, beef up investigations and provide the traffic enforcement our city needs.


Make Oakland Better Now!

OakTalk Here is the blog of Make Oakland Better Now!, an Oakland community grassroots group of a grass-roots group of voters, volunteers, and policy advocates committed to improving the City of Oakland by focusing on public safety, public works, and responsible budgets. Founded in 2003, we’ve researched, lobbied, and successfully campaigned for a number of new, impactful policies, including the city’s Rainy Day Fund, Measure Z and Operation Ceasefire.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Don Link

    I agree with this assessment of the effects of the budget on OPD’s operations. Sworn levels will fall predictably with just two Police Academies per year, which cannot maintain current staffing levels, and that will affect all of the other OPD operation responsibilities as available personnel are absorbed into Patrol and other emergency response duties, the fundamental and first priority duties of police departments in the US and most places in the developed world.

    The preventative operations of OPD such as Ceasefire, community policing, and foot patrol in commercial areas of the city where people are being targeted for strong arm robberies and even shootings will be reduced or eliminated.

    COViD has stressed the Oakland community everywhere, and we are seeing some of the results of that stress in the numbers of shootings daily and homicides weekly. We’re not out of the COVID crisis yet, and probably facing another shelter in place situation.

    Now is not the time to deprive OPD of personnel to deal with the crises that we can expect with what we can see is ahead.

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