OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Oakland police officers are pushing to better bridge the community it serves. The department wants to hire people from the community, but the only problem is many locals just aren't applying.
Still the department is trying to change the negative culture that law enforcement agencies across the country are facing.
"Police are hurting people, killing people without reason. Arresting pulling people over. I don't want to be a cop, says Nyunt Khin of Oakland.
"I think its human nature to say why would I want to be a part of an organization that is perceived in this way. But the flip side of that is I want people to know that there's a lot of work going on internally," says Oakland Police Deputy Chief Danielle Outlaw.
She says the department is seeking to hire cadets with the intention is to bring people from the Oakland community into OPD's pipeline to grow them into their very own. Outlaw knows about the program first hand as she's gone from explorer to cadet to officer and now deputy chief.
Now the department wants to enlist even more Oakland residents. "We have grant money to pay for salaries but we need people to apply," says Outlaw.
OPD has two one-time grants totaling more than one million dollars, for Oakland residents or people who've attended Oakland schools that are between the ages of 18 to 20, with some exceptions.
"If you want change, you can change from within. There's huge opportunities to not only change culture, but to be a part of how the industry and profession is growing," says Outlaw.
The grant funds 24 cadet positions, currently there are 16 vacancies. The department is also hiring 120 other positions including crime scene technicians, dispatchers and officers.