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Proposed Reforms Of Oakland Police Department Draw Mixed Reactions

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- While the Defund the Police movement has gained steam following the outcry over George Floyd's death, what actually constitutes public safety and how it looks isn't an agreed-upon standard at the moment.

The Reimagining Public Safety Taskforce issued proposed reforms to the Oakland Police Department, and while there is agreement on some proposals, members of the Defund OPD Coalition say it doesn't go far enough.

"We strongly support removing officers with incidents of misconduct," said Saabir Lockett of Faith Alliance on Wednesday.

There was also agreement on limiting or even ending the use of OPD's helicopter, to the tune of $600,000 a year in savings. "We believe that the only rational way forward is to actively divest from policing and invest in programs and services that are proven to support communities and increase safety," said Lockett. "We urge the city council to put less emphasis  on changing the culture of OPD and finding more ways to re-allocate the budget."

Some of the recommendations, like changing Oakland police uniforms or getting rid of rank were given only a passing nod and even disagreement, as DTP organizers say more needs to be done to change the structure of policing and society, not just police department culture.

"We need to fund the root cause, we need to fund the preventative strategies," said Cat Brooks of the Anti-Police Terror Project. "We want to get to the bullet before the gun fires."

Meanwhile, in Oakland Chinatown, Chamber of Commerce President Carl Chan said this is not the moment to defund, especially in the wake of recent violence against Asian seniors.

"I think the priority now is public safety, before we start shifting different programs, I think we really need to focus on how we can effectively run our police department," said Chan.

Chan said he's opposed to the citizens of Oakland becoming guinea pigs in the police reform movement. "Some of those are wonderful ideas, they may or may not work."

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