Oakland OK's adding more 911 dispatchers, cameras, police

The Oakland City Council early Wednesday morning approved new steps to try and fight crime. 

In a meeting that went on past midnight, the council unanimously passed a resolution to add more 911 dispatchers, cameras and police.

Specifically, they asked the administrator to come back to them in December with a report on how to recruit and hire more 911 dispatchers, write a new law to pay for another police academy to hire new officers and "urgently request" the FBI and the CHP to send more officers to help with criminal investigations.

Oakland city leaders also are asking the state Department of Transportation to add security cameras on freeway ramps.

The city attorney is also now given the task of coming up with a plan, to create a citywide grant program to give security cameras to businesses.


Oakland councilmember proposes crime-fighting strategies

An Oakland councilmember is urging the city to consider multiple proposals to address a jump in crime.

City councilman Dan Kalb, who authored the resolution, said that every police officer he's talked to has said that crime-fighting has to take a comprehensive approach.

Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas told the public that city leaders are listening to their concerns. 

"We are listening, we are acting, we are staying focused on community safety and it's a holistic approach," she said. 

Councilwoman Carroll Fife said that she recognized Oakland is in a crisis now and she knows people are scared. 

"We are fighting to figure out those solutions and how to implement those, in one of the toughest economic periods Oakland's ever faced," Fife said.

This resolution comes as crime rates have gone up in Oakland in the past year. 

Burglaries are up more than 40 percent, car thefts up more than 54 percent, and overall crime, including violent crime is up by 30 percent compared to last year.

Ahead of the vote, Oakland residents packed the council chambers to either speak in support of the plan, or in many cases, to express their concerns with its limitations.  

"Increasing policing …is proven to harm disproportionately communities of color," said one woman. 

Tim Gardner added that the resolution is not effective because "it's slow, it's not accountable and it lacks urgency."

He noted that the council is asking for six report by December.

"By then, 30 more people will be dead from homicides," Gardner said. 

Anti-Police Terror Project founder Cat Brooks said there would be "disastrous consequences" for hiring more police instead of spending more money on social services, housing, education and jobs. 

"We need to invest in our children," she said. "Not police." 

There are more than a dozen other items in the resolution that also passed. 

None of them will take place immediately, but the resolutions direct the city administrator to start finding ways to implement these changes by the end of the year.