You are on page 1of 10

e-mail: Oaklanders@makeoaklandbetternow.org web site: www.makeoaklandbetternow.org blog: www.oaktalk.

com

April 28, 2014


Via E-Mail

Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee Chair Person Noel Gallo Council Members Dan Kalb, Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, Libby Schaaf

Re:

Oakland Public Safety Initiatives Special Meeting of the Public Safety Committee, April 29, 2014, Agenda Item 3

Dear Public Safety Committee Members: Make Oakland Better Now! is a citizens advocacy group focused on improving public safety, transparency, accountability and budget reform in the City of Oakland. We write today to urge your committee and City Council to provide City Staff with specific instruction concerning the development and implementation of a city-wide comprehensive public safety plan. While we have joined many others in celebrating the modest decreases in Oaklands crime rates from 2012 to the present, the city must not lose sight of the fact that we are still in a municipal public safety crisis. Recently released UCR data tell us that for the first half of 2013, Oakland had the highest violent crime rate of any major California city: 1,027 per 100,000 population. The City in second place Richmond had a violent crime rate 60% of ours. Oaklands murder rate was tied for highest at 11 per 100,000 population. This cannot continue. The Public Safety Committee, the City Council, the Administration and the residents of Oakland must take action to end this tragic epidemic. The first step is a comprehensive public safety plan. We have carefully reviewed both the Strategic Policy Partners report from December of last year and staffs March 27 report on Public Safety Initiatives Throughout The City. We hope that these, and a series of community meetings, are the first steps in developing the citys public safety plan. While both reports contain important elements and recommendations, we believe two critical issues need to be addressed. The first is one of form, the second of substance:

Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee April 28, 2014 Re: Oakland Public Safety Initiatives Page 2 The City Needs A Public Safety Plan With Priority Actions, Completion Dates, Fiscal Impacts, Responsibity Assignments And Metrics / Measurements City Hall has written and obtained a wide variety of public safety and other plans over multiple decades. Most have become moribund after they were written. We must not allow that to happen here. The residents of Oakland deserve a comprehensive plan; they also deserve to know who is responsible for each element of that plan, what each element will cost, and when implementation will occur. The template for the plan Strategic Policy Partners prepared for the City of Baltimore (available here: http://tiny.cc/4dtzex) is a starting point. We attach an exemplar page, showing the hierarchy of pillars, strategic objectives, priority actions, implementation time frames and fiscal impacts. We think, however, that we have improved on the Baltimore format, and our proposed template is also attached. Our proposal has a specific completion date for every priority action, a specific fiscal impact, and, most importantly, departments and persons responsible for each action, as well as metrics. MOBN! strongly urges the city to adopt this template for Oaklands public safety plan, and regularly at least quarterly report to the residents of Oakland on the Citys progress on every priority action. Oaklands Public Safety Plan Must Coordinate All of Our Public Safety Efforts; The City Must Focus On Priority Actions Proven To Reduce Crime In reviewing staffs proposed Public Safety Priorities, we see several substantive problems. First, many of the priorities are broadly stated as goals, without telling anyone exactly what is going to be done (e.g., Increase and sustain long-term investments along the public safety continuum . . . . or Increase leveraging opportunities via the philanthropic and government (both state and federal) sectors to improve the quality of life across all Oakland neighborhoods.) Second, there are large numbers of recommendations by Strategic Policy Partners that staff does not seem to prioritize. Third, there is no discussion of the NSA, compliance, reducing / minimizing the cost of police-related claims against the city and ending Federal Court supervision. Finally, the priorities do not seem to include a rebuilding of the Oakland Police Department, which most people in the city agree is urgently needed. We would, at a minimum, modify staffs proposals to provide as follows: 1. The staff memo states: Prioritize efforts to first reduce violent crime: We agree with staff that this should be the first priority. But we believe there must be explicit consensus on what that means, and how it will be accomplished. We note the Gilbert, Crandall and

Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee April 28, 2014 Re: Oakland Public Safety Initiatives Page 3 Wakeling data indicating that much violence in Oakland stems from groups or gangs: 59% of all homicides involve group members as victims, suspects or both, and the 50 violent groups have an active membership of 1,000 to 1,200 people. Oakland ought to be able to successfully focus on these individuals. We would propose the following: The first goal will be reduction of violent crime in the next two years by at least 50% from 2012 levels. We will do this by expanding Cease Fire to all areas of the cities with affiliation-driven violence, by focusing police resources (other than PSO's) in those areas, and by establishing a felt police presence in neighborhoods most afflicted with violent crime.
2. The staff memo states: Build on what is working with a focus on evidence based

practices and promising approaches. . . . Certainly we agree that Oaklands programmatic approach to violence reduction should be evidence-based. But it also needs to be much more focused then it has been. Oakland has very limited resources, and it needs to select a small number of programs and do them well. Here is what we propose: The City's funding for programmatic solutions to violence will be focused on Ceasefire and a limited number of programs where City participation can make a meaningful and demonstrated difference in reducing violence. 3. The staff memo does not address police department staffing in any meaningful way. It is far past the time for Oakland to seriously commit to restoring its long-decimated police department and taking steps to determine how to accomplish that restoration. Our proposal: The City will take the following steps to rebuild its police department to the appropriate size: (a) Implement a plan to improve department morale with collaboration between the administration, the newly selected chief and the OPOA, with a goal to reduce attrition by 30%; (b) On a high-priority basis, undertake sufficient officer recruiting and academies to bring sworn staffing to the number presently budgeted through the general purpose fund and Measure Y, plus the number paid for by grants within the shortest period of time possible; (c) Whatever the additional number of officers to be paid for by the proposed ballot measure this November, ensure that these are officers in addition to those contemplated by the five year projection; (d) Contract for a resource allocation study as recommended by Strategic Policy Partners; and

Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee April 28, 2014 Re: Oakland Public Safety Initiatives Page 4 (e) Reach agreement that as a matter of city public policy and financial policy, a predetermined amount of increased revenues will be dedicated to rebuilding the police department. 4. Oakland needs to implement a call reduction strategy. This was a key, early Strategic Policy Partners recommendation. We understand OPD has had an implementation plan ready to roll out for well over a year. This concept has been thoroughly vetted in the community, and will have an immediate, positive impact on OPDs ability to respond to calls where officers can make a difference. 5. While the staff report makes general references to the Wasserman and Bratton Group recommendations, we believe the city needs to make decisions as to which of those recommendations to adopt. We urge Oakland to identify the SPP recommendations Oakland will and will not be implementing, particularly those relating to police / community relations, articulate publicly which we are going to implement and which not, and why not, and set an implementation time-table. The city should then start reporting publicly on implementation progress. 6. We need to seriously address the Citys ongoing NSA problems, the exit strategy from court supervision, and the impact of the NSA on our ability to make this a safe city. We believe the city should seriously consider engaging a qualified, independent outside expert to advise it on (a) whether and to what extent it is out of compliance with the NSA, and (b) what steps it should take next. 7. We have to get serious about police-community relations. In a meeting with Mr. Wasserman, one of our members expressed the opinion that the divide between Oaklands police and its community went back over forty years. Mr. Wasserman responded, quite accurately, that it was older than that. We suggest the following: a. We agree with SPP that community engagement is critically important. But it is not realistic to suggest, as SPP does, that we solve Oaklands community engagement deficit by inviting Oaklanders to a series of town hall meetings through mayor and city council list serves. Instead, we must hold the administration, and the police department, accountable for demonstrating their ability to engage residents who are not the same people who attend city meetings. The city needs to demonstrate its ability to increase community engagement by bringing into the process residents who have not previously been involved. b. We need to regularly poll what Oaklanders think about their police, and compare current and past results. Enlightened cities regularly poll their residents. It is time for Oakland to do this, and the first issue to be polled should be residents views about public safety and police. c. While many in the city bemoan the small number of Oakland residents serving in the OPD, it seems as though nobody talks about solutions. For starters, we need

Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee April 28, 2014 Re: Oakland Public Safety Initiatives Page 5 to shine a light on what Oakland does to recruit locals to the department, and why these applicants do not become Oakland police officers. d. We need to make public safety data regularly and easily available to the public. Oakland should have a public safety dashboard, with all relevant metrics available to residents on a real-time basis. If we want all Oaklanders to be engaged in public safety matters, we need to maximize the availability of information to all Oaklanders. As things presently stand, all that is before this committee is a report to accept. We need much more than that. We need this Committee, City Council, and city government to recognize that we are in a state of crisis that needs immediate action. And we need you to take that action to bring the residents of Oakland the safe city they deserve. Thank you. Sincerely,

Bruce Nye Board Chair Make Oakland Better Now!

BALTIMORE PUBLIC SAFETY PLAN TEMPLATE

-99Pillar 1: The Baltimore Police Department will reduce crime throughout the City by targeting gangs, guns, violent repeat offenders, and the conditions that allow crime to flourish. Strategic Objective 1.1: Challenge District Commanders to improve crime reduction in their districts and bolster patrol officers reduction impact to give them the ability to do so Implementation Fiscal Assignment of PRIORITY ACTIONS Time Frame Impact Responsibility Implement accountabilities, the daily crime report, and resource Budget1.1.1 allocation changes to enable district commanders to be the primary Short-term NPB Deputy Commissioner neutral drivers of strategy in their districts. Budget1.1.2 Evaluate district resources and personnel assignments on a regular basis. Continuous NPB Deputy Commissioner neutral Ensure that shift lieutenants and sector sergeants have the resources to Budget1.1.3 impact and are held accountable for reducing regular crime trends and Short-term NPB Deputy Commissioner neutral conditions in their areas. Create a Patrol Staffing Assessment Working Group to manage the patrol allocation process. Form an Operations Analysis Unit to provide staff Budget1.1.4 assistance to the Staffing Assessment Working Group. The group will Medium-term NPB Deputy Commissioner neutral consider whether to implement a sector deployment model as well as whether to split the Northeastern district in the near-term. Create an Operations Analysis Unit to collect and analyze information on Budget1.1.5 Medium-term NPB Deputy Commissioner workload and organizational performance neutral Contract for technical assistance in the review of district and post Budget1.1.6 Short-term NPB Deputy Commissioner boundaries and required staffing levels based on crime and workload. neutral Strategic Objective 1.2: Strengthen the investigative process to increase closure rates and bolster criminal cases against violent offenders Implementation Fiscal Assignment of PRIORITY ACTIONS Time Frame Impact Responsibility 1.2.1 Target investigatory efforts based on the Violent Repeat Offender list and Medium-term BudgetIIB Deputy Commissioner Baltimore Police Department

MOBN! SUGGESTED PUBLIC SAFETY PLAN TEMPLATE

Pillar 1: The City of Oakland will reduce violent crime by at least 50% from 2012 levels by the end of 2015. Strategic Objective 1.1: Rebuild the sworn and unsworn divisions of the police department to the size appropriate to meet the departments mission of providing an environment free of violence and free of the perception of violence. Priority Actions 1.1.1 Contract for a resource allocation study to determine how many police officers and how many police department civilians are necessary to make Oakland a safe city. Develop, articulate, publicize and implement an OPD attrition reduction plan to reduce the rate of attrition in the department by 25%. Completion Date March 31, 2015 Fiscal Impact $50,000 $75,000 Department Responsible City Administrator Person(s) Responsible Metrics and Measurements City Administrator will bring to Council and to the public at large the results of the assessment.

1.1.2

Development: Projected 11/1/14; savings = Articulation, $________ publicity: 1/1/15; Begin implementation: 3/1/15; Outcome: 7/1/15

OPD and administration

Police Chief and Mayor

Development, articulation and publicity: the information about what the plan will be and its implementation should be widely publicized to the press and on line. The outcome should be such that there is an observed 25% reduction in attrition by July 1, 2015.

Priority Actions 1.1.3 Evaluate and report the number of police academies per year necessary to reach the number of police officers presently authorized. Identify sources of funds for those academies.

Completion Date May 31, 2014

Fiscal Impact None

Department Responsible City Administrator / OPD

Person(s) Responsible

1.1.4

Authorize the academies needed to reach the number of police officers presently authorized.

June 30, 2014

$5M - $10M

City Council

Metrics and Measurements This should be reported to Public Safety Committee and Council in time to allow consideration of a mid-term budget adjustment to authorize the needed academies. This will be the subject of an ordinance that will be enacted by council.