A new group of 57 recruits entered the Oakland Police Academy Monday, preparing for six months of training before they are ready to help stem crime on the East Bay city’s streets.
Assistant police chief Paul Figueroa labeled it a diverse group of cadets with seven female officers and 14 Spanish speakers.
He said the city needs more beat cops, freeing up detectives to focus on investigating robberies.
“Any increase is not acceptable,” Said Figueroa. “It’s not something we’re happy with. A lot of that has to do with just staffing in terms of when the investigation capabilities that kind of thing. And that’s why these academies are so important for us to continue to build those out.”
So far this year, there have been 3,800 robberies in the city – a 24 percent jump from 2012. And in 2012, Oakland had the highest per capita robbery rate in the country.
Even with 36 Academy graduates joining the force last week, Oakland police still find themselves understaffed with just 646 officers on the force.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.