80 Oakland Cops Become Casualty of Crippled Economy

By Robert Rooks, Director of NAACP Criminal Justice Programs

Originally posted in TheGrio.Com

Just imagine walking through your front door after a long day's work and your house has been ransacked and your valuables gone. You call the police to report the crime but no one shows up. You call again hours later and they tell you that your call has been logged and that a police officer will be with you shortly. Then, after hours of waiting, you get a call back from the police department and an officer says that your intruder would likely not come back to your home and the report you supplied over the phone is sufficient. He ends the call by saying not to expect a police officer to come to your house because he does not have enough police officers to attend to every situation, especially after a crime has already been committed.

Next week, Oakland, CA is going to face a 10 percent cut to its police force in order to balance its budget. This week, 80 police officers were laid off, bringing the force down to 696 officers. This comes after Oakland has decreased violent crime by 14.1 percent from 2008 to 2009 but also in the wake of the worse series of civil unrest in decades. The verdict of involuntary manslaughter for Johannes Mehserle, the former BART transit officer that shot and killed Oscar Grant, triggered protest throughout Oakland as young men and women were taken into custody for vandalism and expressing their discontent with the verdict.