Oakland police struggle to rebuild — using fewer resources

By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times | May 18, 2013

‘Working smarter’ and reorganization can go only so far. It’s not clear that the public is ready to make the investment.

OAKLAND — It was a quiet evening by this city’s standards, and still the police emergency lines were lighting up.

As screams rang out behind her, a caller said her neighbor was being beaten. A woman reported that a front door down the street had been bashed in by a possible intruder. Another said a family member with a knife and supply of methamphetamine was threatening to kill herself.

By 7:30 p.m. there were 40 calls requiring squad cars on the eastern half of town but no officers available to respond. The western district wasn’t faring much better.

So when a resident phoned to report that someone was removing boxes from his driveway, he was told he’d have to wait. “Can’t you just have an officer drive by?’ he asked the 911 dispatcher.

Managing expectations amid a rising crime rate is the latest challenge in California’s most violent city.

The Oakland Police Department is under pressure to satisfy conditions of a decade-old federal court settlement that stemmed from racial profiling and improper use of force. Two of its chiefs have left in as many years. A quarter of its sworn officers have been lost since 2008 to budget cutbacks. Yet it handles about twice the emergency calls per capita as the average law enforcement agency in the state.

Read more at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-oakland-police-department-20130519,0,5985741.story

 

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