Oakland City Council Votes to Reduce Police Funding by $17 Million

Posted: Jun 27, 2021 5:30 PM
Oakland City Council Votes to Reduce Police Funding by $17 Million

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Oakland City Council voted to strip more than $17 million from the police department's budget to use the funds for other resources.

After a 7-2 vote on Thursday, the city council approved a plan to reallocate the Oakland Police Department's funds for the Department of Violence Prevention in the hopes of increased public safety, according to CBS affiliate KPIX.

The controversial move comes as the city sees an uptake in violent crime. Earlier this month, a mass shooting took place during Juneteenth festivities.

Council member Dan Kalb said of the decision to take $17.4 million from law enforcement:

We can make adjustments if we need to but, right now, we have to focus on our violence prevention, affordable housing, our homeless populations and that’s what this budget helps us move forward and do.

The Oakland Police Officers Association said that, under this plan, the police department will not be able to fill the 50 vacant positions, leading to slower response times for emergency calls.

The council's decision faced criticisms from city leadership, with Mayor Libby Schaaf releasing a statement that read:

I believe that until we have proven alternatives, we cannot destroy Oakland’s current public safety system at a time when we are losing so many to gun violence.

Following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, many Oakland residents have voiced their desire to have the city’s police budget reduced in favor of funding alternative public safety measures.

Cities across the country have seen a rise in crime over the last year due to police officers leaving the force in the aftermath of Floyd's killing, which prompted anti-police protests over the course of the past year.