We are in the middle of a national conversation of dire importance about policing and justice and how both are administered in our country.
As a progressive city with a deep commitment to social justice, Oakland has been at the forefront of this movement, both in terms of adopting 21st century constitutional policing practices and speaking out about the injustices that have occurred nationally.
This is why Oakland was selected as one of a handful of cities to be invited to Washington, D.C. by the Department of Justice to participate in the White House Community Policing Forum late last month. Police Chief Sean Whent, Reverend Damita Davis-Howard of First Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church, Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church and I attended the convening which is part of President Obama's 21st Century Policing initiative.
The event was an opportunity to learn from others and share information about our city's demonstrated commitment to policing in a manner that is constitutional, progressive and steadfast in working to earn this entire community's trust. There is a lot of work to be done in this arena, but we are making meaningful progress. Over the past four years there has been a 70 percent reduction in use of force incidents in Oakland and complaints against our officers have dropped by nearly 60 percent since 2012.
The police department's early adoption of a wide range of 21st century policing practices and procedures like enhanced body camera and pursuit policies, as well as de-escalation, implicit bias and procedural justice training have led to these improved outcomes. Under Chief Whent's leadership, in many areas Oakland has been a first mover. In fact, the Oakland Police Department is one of the first law enforcement agencies in the country to widely deploy body cameras. The department's policy on how the footage is used in investigations and training is one of the most progressive in the nation.
Members of our community have also played a significant role in helping to shape and enact these changes - an essential part of making lasting improvements that sustain safety. For example, Bishop Jackson and other members of Oakland's faith-based community have partnered with OPD to enhance the O.K. Program of Oakland to provide police mentors for Oakland youth. The Oakland Police Department's procedural justice training is one of the only known programs in the country to be designed and taught by police and residents. Reverend Davis-Howard was instrumental in the process and continues to teach officers through the program. The department has also created opportunities for members of the community to participate in the selection process for new police recruits. This is the type of ongoing engagement and mutual support that helps build better police community relations.
Still, I recognize how fragile those relationships are for many and how much they are tested by events like Oakland's recent officer involved shootings. Given what is at stake, as a community we have an obligation to acknowledge and work to correct the wrongs of the past and the legacy they have left behind. At the same time we must resist the urge to judge every new set of circumstances on anything other than the facts at hand.
Use of force is something we take very seriously. We've worked hard to put in place the protocols and supervision needed to ensure that when these incidents occur the required investigations have integrity and legitimacy. We are also committed to giving the community all of the accurate and timely information that can be provided because that is what's deserved.
The impromptu protests that often arise after situations involving uses of force can be challenging. The tactics of protest groups change, and we work to use our existing policies to appropriately respond to every unique event with the ultimate goal of protecting people, property and the fundamental right to peaceful assembly.
The collective work this community is doing is not easy, but if we approach it with honesty and accountability we can move Oakland closer to being the safe, equitable and vibrant city we all know it can be.
PARTNERSHIPS FOR SAFETY
The importance of building relationships to enhance the safety of our community was made clear during this year's National Night Out events.
A BIG THANK YOU TO THE HOSTS AND ALL THOSE WHO ATTENDED THE 560 NATIONAL NIGHT OUT
PARTIES IN OAKLAND LAST WEEK!
Over 100 City staff fanned out across Oakland to attend parties in every corner of our city. I had the pleasure of spending part of the evening with Oaklander Jessie Mae Brown, who has hosted a National Night Out party in her East Oakland neighborhood for 32 consecutive years. Throughout my travels that evening, I was met with residents who demonstrated deep support for their neighbors and this city. The best of Oakland was on full display!
|SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL|
The City of Oakland has secured more than $2.3 million to help improve safety for students walking or biking to school.
Eleven Safe Routes to School projects have been funded. These are some of the schools in East Oakland between Fruitvale and Elmhurst that will benefit: Acorn Woodland Elementary, EnCompass Academy, Esperanza Elementary, Fred T. Korematsu Discovery Academy, Fruitvale Elementary, Global Family Elementary, Laurel Elementary and Markham Elementary.
In addition, crossings near Oakland High will be improved and there will be traffic calming work done near the bus stop intersection at Fremont High School.
BUILDING MORE HOUSING
The City of Oakland has been awarded $3 million from the state's new Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program for a new affordable housing development named Camino 23 at International Boulevard and 23rd Avenue.
Satellite Affordable Housing Associates will build the 32 units of affordable housing with a children's play area and community room with kitchen and laundry facilities. The funds will also repair the sidewalks and install safer street lighting along International Boulevard.
The project is one of 28 endorsed by The California Strategic Growth Council (SGC). The group granted a total of $121.9 million from the state's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
OAKLAND HOUSING CABINET
Building more housing at all income levels is important if Oakland is going to effectively tackle the impact of the regional housing crisis on our city.
We must use our best collective thinking to address the problem. To drive this effort I have formed Oakland's Housing Cabinet with the mission of establishing a quantitative goal for the number of housing units Oakland will preserve and create over the next eight years.
Technical advisory subgroups have been formed to focus on addressing: preservation strategies, increasing supply, increasing resources, and other solutions, including artist housing and work spaces.
This work will be done in partnership with the community and in concert with the Oakland City Council.
You are invited to learn more about Oakland's Housing Cabinet and to participate in a special City Council meeting on housing hosted by Council President Lynette Gibson-McElhaney on September 30.
If you are interested in joining a subgroup, please send an email to [email protected] with the subject line, "Housing Cabinet Subgroup." Please be sure to include your name, email and phone number in the message.
SOLVING COLD CASES
The Oakland Police Department recently created a new section of its website dedicated to uncovering new leads in Oakland's cold case homicides.
With expansion of social media and recent developments in DNA technology, detectives are reevaluating past cases and discovering new leads. Cold cases can be solved if people share what they know. The goal is justice for every life lost.
Anyone who has any information about unsolved homicides can call anytime, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - OPD Homicide (510) 238-3821 or the Anonymous Tip Line (510) 238-7950. For more information, please contact the OPD Media Relations Office at [email protected] or (510) 238-7230.
WHAT'S UP AT CITY HALL
Visit City Administrator Sabrina Landreth's webpage and read her Weekly Report for updates on jobs, requests for proposals and more information on what's happening in Oakland City government.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR & JOIN MAYOR SCHAAF FOR THESE UPCOMING EVENTS
Oakland Pride is September 13.
The Eat Real Festival is September 18-20.
Save the date and find out more
SAVE THE DATE
Community Kick-off Event for "Plan Downtown"
Thursday, September 3, 2015, 6:00 p.m.
School starts for OUSD August 24.
No BART service between SF & East Bay September 5, 6 & 7.
THE OAKLAND PUBLIC LIBRARY IS DOING GREAT THINGS!
On Saturday, September 12, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
, the Oakland Public Library's Oakland Has Jobs
online bulletin board, in conjunction with localwisejobs.com
, is hosting a job fair for adults and teens at the Main Library, 125 14th Street
. The public can meet with employers, as well as youth agencies who offer paid internships. Participants can also have their resumes reviewed. Please dress professionally and bring an updated resume. For more information, please contact Brian Boies at[email protected] or (510) 238-7232.
BECOME A VOLUNTEER
On Tuesday, September 22
, the Oakland Public Library's Books for Wider Horizons (BWH)
program will begin its annual training for new and returning volunteers. BWH offers a unique volunteer opportunity: to read aloud to children at Head Start centers and other partnering preschools throughout the city. For more information or to register for the training, please call Rochelle Venuto at [email protected]
or (510) 238-7453.
KEEP ME POSTED. BE IN TOUCH.
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