18 new Oakland police officers formally took the oath Friday, to protect and serve as the city works to increase their police force and curb crime.
“We are changing the way in what progressive policing looks like,” said Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao.
The diverse class of cadets includes two women and multiple bilingual officers. Increasing diversity is a point of pride for many of Oakland’s newest hires.
The new officers arrive as law enforcement nationwide is under scrutiny in wake of the beating death of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police.
“The purpose of why I wanted to do this was so young females can see someone like me do it as well. I feel like treating people with the ultimate respect is one of the things. I was raised on and treating everyone equally,” said Oakland police graduate Sandria Bolden.
“We are trained in the academy to keep our bearings, to be professional, for the city of Oakland and to have sanctity of life. That is my goal to be able to help and educate others,” said Oakland police graduate Eyob Worku.
The recruits also face a city struggling to curb violence.
Oakland has already recorded nine homicides this year. The latest, a teenager who was shot and killed Friday morning in east Oakland.
“As we increase the numbers back to our authorized strength, we can reintroduce some of the units that we had to dismantle before,” said OPD Deputy Chief Clifford Wong.
Oakland now has 714 officers, that’s just 12 officers short of being fully staffed.
The Oakland police officer’s association explained that while every officer helps, It’s less than what the city had 20 years ago – and may not be enough to handle the city’s demands.
“We had a million calls for service to 911 here in Oakland last year for the first time ever. We probably need about 1200 police officers just to manage the workload,” said Sgt. Barry Donelan with the Oakland Police Officers’ Association.
Source: NBC Bay Area
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