As council considers reforms, Oakland police chief says there's no room for cuts

The Oakland City Council on Tuesday will discuss a number of agenda items related to the police department’s budget and holding police accountable.

Their agenda includes discussing a contract ranging from $750,000 to $2 million for police helicopter maintenance services, as well as a Shotspotter contract upwards of $1.8 million. 


Councilmembers will also hear a resolution to support federal legislation on police accountability, adopting a zero-tolerance policy for racist practices within the department, and a resolution to stop using tear gas at protests during the pandemic.

This regularly scheduled city council meeting comes after another day of protestors calling to defund the Oakland Police Department.

Oakland's interim police chief Susan Manheimer says the department has already gone through several budget cuts and can’t reduce their officer to service call ratio any further.

However, Manheimer said she agrees police shouldn’t be in the business of mental health and homelessness response and is open to other options.

"We don’t want to be that response to those who are in need of clinicians or other trauma-informed services," she said. 

The city's finance director says 19 to 20 percent of Oakland's budget goes towards the police department.

And the department takes up 40 percent of the city's general funds.

The interim chief says the department asks for only what’s necessary to protect officers and the public like military-style vehicles and helicopters.

Manheimer added that calls to defund police can be very dangerous.

She also defended militarized police vehicles saying that the Bearcat can create distance and de-escalation.

KTVU's Amber Lee contributed to this report.