Of the 2,000 people who initially applied for the 55 new positions on the Oakland Police force, most were from outside the city. In fact, more than 90% of the current police force does not live in Oakland, something that activists say strains community police relations and affects city resources. Oakland spends about 40% of its general fund on police – that compares with 26% spent on police in San Jose, 17% in Sacramento and 7% in Long Beach.
Oakland’s police expenditures are the focus of the cover article in this week's East Bay Express, which states that Oakland could be losing nearly $200 million a year in revenue because the money goes to officers who live elsewhere and consequently don’t spend much of their income within the city.
Reporters Ali Winston and Darwin Bond-Graham shared their thoughts on the OPD's lack of local officers with KALW's Holly Kernan.
DARWIN BOND-GRAHAM: "It is a two-part problem. One part is that if the officers aren't from Oakland and they don't live in Oakland, then when they come in to do their job, a lot of residents feel that they're coming in as some sort of an occupying force. That's one of the phrases that we've heard, and the community police relations are strained because of that. The second part of the problem is economic: if none of the officers live here, that means that a lot of money in the form of salaries and benefits are flowing out to suburban communities where officers live."
Click on the player above to hear the full interview.