There is no way around it says the Oakland City Council, according to the Chronicle’s Matier & Ross, the city will need to layoff 180 police officers this year, but not until they are sure the outcome of the Oscar Grant trial does not set off a powder keg of tensions on its streets. That’s a big number and it will help reduce Oakland’s estimated $31 million deficit, but crime has no borders.
Here’s question #1: Do you feel a steep reduction in uniformed officers in neighboring Oakland will affect public safety in San Leandro and Hayward?
Oakland has one of the highest homicide rates in the country, but San Leandro’s incidents of crime were so low that the city’s application for increased police funding for its department was passed over because crime was too low.
Nevertheless, San Leandro’s budget cuts for the next fiscal year calls for two officers to be cut. This brings the force down to 88 for a population of roughly 85,000 and it could conceivably drop further if the economy continues to stagnate. Both San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis and City Manager Stephen Hollister have said the smallest the force could become before be overwhelmed is around 82, or the number of officers employed during another recession in the 1990s–incidentally when crime was the highest.
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