Saturday, September 21, 2013

Quan Lies About Police Staffing Number To Hide Her Abysmal Performance On Public Safety

Last Tuesday, City officials hosted a press conference to brag about a recently received $4.5 million federal COPS grant.  Notably, the grant awarded was significantly less than what the City has received in the past, and Oakland needs more officers now more than ever.  Staffing is currently at an embarrassing 611 officers, and crime continues to soar.

But Quan tried to hide the fact that the police force is dwindling at an alarming rate by claiming that when she became mayor, "we had less than 600 officers."  No doubt she made this claim to try to deceive the public into thinking that under her watch, the size of the force expanded.  However, she lied, because City records show that when she took office, Oakland had 656 officers.  She was off by a staggering 10%!  Worse yet, when confronted by the inaccuracy of her claims, she "stood by her statement," according to the Tribune story that exposed the issue.

You would hope that a Mayor who proclaims public safety to be her highest priority, and goes begging in Washington to pay for more police, should have a handle on where police staffing stood when she took over, and where it stands now.  So either she is hopelessly ignorant, a blatant liar, or both.  In any event, there is simply no excuse for what happened on Tuesday.

If you want a handy reference guide for for some important police staffing numbers and crime statistics since Measure Y first went into effect, I happen to have just put those together for a recent presentation I did for MGO last week.  (I was speaking on the topic of "Should Measure Y Be Renewed?" and I had plenty to say on the topic).  So here they are.  Mayor Quan, feast your eyes on the facts.

Police Staffing
*             As of Spring, 2006, there were no Measure Y PSOs - all officers had been redeployed to patrol.
*             By December 2006, only 16 PSO positions were filled
*             Violent crime spiked 20.8 % between 2005 and 2006
*             By May, 2007, police force stood at approximately 712, 91 officers below authorized strength, and well below the 739 baseline from 2004.
*             By June 2007, still only 16 PSO positions had been filled. 
*             In 2007, there were 120 murders, the second highest in 12 years.
*             By January 2008, force stood at 714 officers, and only 1/2 of the PSO positions had been filled.
*             By September, 2008, only 49 PSO positions had been filled
*             As of December, 2008 (date my brief #1 was filed) still 8 vacant PSO positions, and none of the truancy abatement, school resource officer or crime reduction team positions had been filled. 
*             After my lawsuit, finally got police force up to over 803, and it has been falling ever since
*             By July, 2009, size had dropped to 799
*             By March, 2010, down to 770
*             Number of PSOs cut in half - now one for every two beats, not one for every beat
*             November, 2010, City placed Measure BB on the ballot to eliminate the 739 minimum appropriation requirement
*             July 2010 - 80 police officers laid off
*             By the end of December, 2010, when Jean Quan took over - staffing at 658
*             By September, 2011, staffing at 656
*             June 2012, staffing down to 646
*             Today, it stands at 611 - nearly 200 officers LESS than what we were promised


*             2011 - Oakland had more violent crime than any other City in California

*             Between 2011-2012, violent crime up 20% - nearly twice the increases of SF and San Jose; property crimes up 26%!

*             2012 - Oakland 4th most dangerous City in America

*             FBI Crime Charts

2006      2007    2008    2009    2010   2011   2012
7599      7605   7905     6793    6267   6652   7962
24344  23664  21488  20173   17325 20904  26342

(Line 1:  Violent Crime; Line 2:  Property Crime)

Conclusion - for 2012 crime was the worst it has ever been since the passage of Measure Y .

1 comment:

  1. Marleen you did a great job speaking to the point at the MGO meeting on Thursday. I have to say that it was not a supportive environment for critical, productive thinking about Measure Y and violence reduction in Oakland. Both panelists Sara Bedford (sp?) and Patricia Bennett whose jobs are directly related to Measure Y funding were not helpful at all. Courtney Ruby made a couple of good points about the dysfunction of the City Council, but she is, after all, a very political person. MGO is itself mostly white, elderly and quite disconnected from the real problems of Oakland. MGO's claim to fame in recent years was the poorly-designed instant runoff voting system in Oakland which helped elect incompetent Mayor Quan.

    I would add to the points you made only this: the violence in Oakland is, in itself, the main force in disturbing families and children who live in the most violent parts of town. Ongoing violence is the force which traumatizes children who then cannot function in a school or other socializing, development-fostering environments. The violence is what keeps the community from moving forward and the economy from growing. The only way for Oakland to move forward is by significantly reducing violence. This means an efficient, ethical and community-based police department. "Violence prevention" programs may have some positive results but they are much more like band-aids after the injury than in any way preventative.

    We cannot reduce violence in Oakland without effective community policing. We cannot have effective community policing until civilian management is handed over to an agency independent of the City Council and the Mayor. Such an agency is usually called a police commission.