Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong on Monday lamented city officials' recent decision to redirect roughly $18 million in proposed police spending over two years, which Armstrong argued will hamstring a police force that is already stretched too thin.
In a briefing Monday morning, Armstrong made the case that the change in funding, and reduced ability to hire new officers as a result, would prevent Oakland police from adequately completing even day-to-day tasks like traffic enforcement and responding to emergency calls, NBC reports.
"We already have a tough time responding to the high number of calls that we get," Armstrong said. "This will make it tougher, having less officers in the field, particularly for marginalized communities like deep East Oakland, where we see two-thirds of our calls coming from."
The Oakland City Council voted Thursday to redirect $18 million from Mayor Libby Schaaf's proposed budget to alternative forms of violence prevention and harm reduction.
Armstrong also argued on Monday that the city failed over the last decade to grow the police department in tandem with Oakland's population growth. OPD currently has 714 officer positions staffed, but is authorized to staff as many as 788 officers, Armstrong said, adding that since 2013 the city has not added officers to the police force while the city's population has grown from roughly 395,000 to 433,000.