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Oakland City Council Votes To Increase Police Staffing

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- Change is occurring in Oakland.

Just last summer, the City Council voted to freeze police officer positions and divert resources to violence prevention programs. Last night, the city council voted to put money back into police resources.

A rally to support more funding for Oakland Police Department was held just as a 7-hour council meeting started. The council voted to fund two more academies to add 60 more officers to help bring the department back to the 737 authorized positions.

This agenda item came about to address the Oakland Police Department falling below the minimum number officers of 678 required by voter approved Measure Z. It sits at 676.

As crime has seen a spike, the department has been losing an average of 8 officers a month.

Chief LeRonne Armstrong explained why officers are leaving.

"They have said, both city leadership, both department leadership as well as lack of appreciation and support that they are receiving across the board and it really is something that has had a tremendous impact on morale," said Chief Armstrong.

The vote came after hours of discussion by councilmembers. There was also a terse exchange between Councilmember Carroll Fife and Chief Armstrong.

"Are you defining bashing as only clearing 1 out of 6 murder cases and a delayed response to 911 calls?" Councilmember Fife asked.

The Chief responded, "We can have a difference in opinion but I Just hope that people would understand this is a difficult job."

Additional funding for police does not stop here. The council will also consider an item from Councilmember Loren Taylor to add an additional academy, unfreeze 8 positions and invest in surveillance technology later this month.

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