OAKLAND -- With Oakland leaders desperate for a way to reverse the rise in violent crime and avoid a federal takeover, council members Larry Reid and Libby Schaaf are pushing to infuse the city's anemic police patrol by adding support staff, outside officers and a third police academy.
The extra staff and 10 Alameda County Sheriff Officers could be in place by the spring of 2013 if the Oakland City Council approves their proposal in January instead of waiting until July to adjust the budget.
The proposal followed the shooting deaths of two teenage girls Sunday and another Wednesday, bringing the city's homicide rate to 116. Reid said one of his aides was caught in crossfire during the weekend in West Oakland.
In addition, a federal judge could decide on Dec. 13 if the police department should be placed under federal control.
"We will not be able to police our way out of violent crime happening on the streets," Reid said. "But we need to get as many officers as we can."
The proposal includes:
"I certainly hope we have the support of our colleagues on the council," Reid said.
Backup from outside agencies including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and California Highway Patrol are already being deployed in Oakland.
But Oakland has 626 sworn officers for a population of 410,000, according to Reid. Ninety of them are inactive or on light duty, Reid said. That works out to a ratio of one officer for every 765 residents.
The proposal will go to the full council on Jan. 22.
"We are putting the wheels in motion," Schaaf said Thursday morning shortly before the meeting of the Rules and Legislation Committee, which was supposed to consider the proposal before sending it to the full council. Reid and Schaaf sit on the committee. The meeting, however, was called off a few minutes later because Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente canceled at the last minute. Council member Desley Brooks was out of town, leaving the four-person committee without a quorum and unable to hold the meeting.
Reid used a formal procedure, known as Rule 28, to push the items to the Jan. 22 meeting as planned.
Chief Howard Jordan said he appreciated the added resources. Regardless of what the federal judge decides, he said Thursday at City Hall, the city needs more police to confront the horrible crime epidemic of the past six months.
"We have a lot of work to be done," he said. "But I have to take action now."