Reaction pours in after Oakland City Council votes in favor of defunding police

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Reaction to the Oakland City Council voting in favor of cutting the police budget in the midst of a violent crime wave is still coming in.

On Friday, KRON4’s Haaziq Madyun got perspectives from the police union and the two councilmembers who voted against the new budget.

Six members of the Oakland City Council voted in favor of reducing $18 million dollars from OPD’s budget over the next two years by cutting two police academies.

“Yeah, well first of all, any, what might be considered reductions or modifications, those don’t kick in for several months,” Dan Kalb said.

Councilmember Kalb voted in favor of the new budget in large part because of the investment in violence prevention strategies.

“As well as job placement, job readiness, job training and to have what we call our Macro Program,” Kalb said. “Our alternative civilian emergency response program so not all calls for service have to go to the police department and OPD agrees with that.”

“We’re actually supportive of that,” Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association said.

However, Donelan says the emergency mental health calls are only a fraction of their daily calls for service.

“We like the idea. Especially with macro pushing these calls about mental health over to the fire department and it accounts for about 40 calls a day that we wouldn’t have to respond to,” Donelan said. “But to give you context right now we respond to 2,000 calls. The impact will be there but it won’t be as large as we would like.”

East Oakland councilmembers Loren Taylor and Treva Reid voted against the new budget on the grounds of what they say is a lack of equity for their constituents.

“At the end of the day when I saw the limited investment in East Oakland and the limiting the voice of East Oaklanders, who I am hearing from, who I know sent hundreds of emails to me, I could not vote for it in principle,” Taylor said.

“We want to affirm through this budget that there will be measures to ensure that we are safe. that we are protected and that we can live with a greater sense of peace because we have not seen the equitable investment up to this point,” Reid said.

City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas defends her budget by saying her teams number one policy directive is to ensure equity in the budget process.

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