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Reimagine police into public safety, adopt community-based priorities, says Anti Police-Terror Project

A report released Monday by a public safety advocacy group says Oakland police do not have a staffing problem — as elected city leaders have been saying — but a mismanagement problem.

The report by the Anti Police-Terror Project, which has been advocating for reduced spending on police in Oakland and more spending on preventative public safety measures, says the Oakland Police Department is not focused on violent crime but is wasting time on non-criminal and non-violent issues.

The report, which is based on data from the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force and the OPD Budget/Staffing Workgroup, says by eliminating the Police Department’s responsibility for animal control, blight, welfare checks, general inquiries, mental health, and traffic, the department would free up more than 60 officers.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is proposing to grow the Police Department by 60 officers by spending $5.8 million to pay for two more police academies and unfreeze 20 positions in the Police Department. She said that will not reduce funding for other city services.

But the APTP says eliminating officers’ responsibility for animal control and the like will free up the full-time equivalent of 62 officers and 12 sergeant positions, allowing the city to redirect $17.4 million a year for preventative measures.

The Oakland City Council will take up the mayor’s proposal and a similar proposal by City Council Pro Tem and mayoral hopeful Sheng Thao Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

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