17
Feb
10

North Hills Not Patrolled Much Lately

Did you know that we’re not even patrolled by beat-level police much anymore?  Apparently assignments and shifts have been adjusted, and the North Hills are getting less attention and love.  We learned this exciting news last night, while tuned to KTOP (Channel 10) for the Oakland City Council’s marathon proceedings.

Among the parade of public speakers, our neighbor Jim Dexter came up to the podium to speak his mind.  In his more official volunteer duties, he chairs the North Hills Neighborhood Council (Beat 13Y).  Everyone who lives north of Thornhill, up to the Berkeley border, falls within this group’s purview.

Anyway, Dexter was discussing overall city priorities regarding public safety and was hardly alone.  He also mentioned the current Problem Solving Officer (PSO) assigned to his beat no longer put in full-time hours.  Jim reported recent changes in assignments with, as we understood him, an officer patrolling only one out of four days here.  Yes, that’s 25 percent of the time!

Measure Y is something Oakland voters approved years ago, to increase community police officers.  Compliance seems to be a tricky deal and, without assigned officers full-time, we are effectively violating the terms.  Dexter reminded the Council reps that funds can neither be collected nor used when the force falls below 770 officers.

In the meantime, John Haney serves as the Beat 13Y officer and knows the lay of the land well.  Come meet him at the North Hills steering meeting tonight, from 7-9 pm.  All neighbors are invited to share their safety questions and concerns – at Fire Station 7, 1006 Amito Drive (map).

More info:  We suggest visiting the North Hills Neighborhood Council’s blog here, as well as signing up for their email here.

Feb 26th update:  Correction here, as we learned Officer Haney “had been assigned one day a week (out of his four-day work week) to be on patrol.”  This reassignment translates to a 25 percent loss.  Please read Jim Dexter’s comments below.

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2 Responses to “North Hills Not Patrolled Much Lately”


  1. February 19, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    The cutback of police services in the North Hills is a result of city council decisions several years ago to cut back on police staffing while increasing cop compensation, mismanagement of OPD, and massive city deficits cause by both external forces and internally by spending money that came from the real estate bubble as if it would last forever. With media and local blogger attention using up to date crime data in Oakland, the low personal crime North Hills that previously had excellent police coverage, got triaged down to minimal coverage. Despite the political clout of the North Hills, there was no way OPD could send cops to protect property when drive-bys of kids were occurring in the flats.

    With financial situation of our city approaching meltdown, particularly when the tens of millions of unfunded retirement benefits come due over the next few years, in November you will have to decide whether you can trust your elected officials with a tentatively proposed large additional parcel tax which your council members will tell you is dedicated to police and fire.

    You will have to decide whether such a tax merely keeps the current level of triage or significantly raises the service to that of comparable cities?

    Based on our city’s adjudged misuse of Measure Y funds, and no sign of regret from our elected officials, the odds are that the city will use such a parcel tax to enable them to divert existing funding from the cops to other programs and try to pay grandiose retirement promises made to all city employees over the past 8 years.

    If Hills residents don’t work with people in the flats to get their city council to face economic reality very very quickly and improve basic city services, you should look into hiring private security patrols.

    -len raphael
    temescal

  2. 2 Jim Dexter
    February 26, 2010 at 10:01 am

    It is wonderful to see that at least one member of the public watched KTOP (impressive in itself), and in that watching, saw me speak at a City meeting, and better yet, understood the reason why I was speaking out.

    That being said, let me attempt to correct TWO reported observations in the blog above (obviously, I spoke in a manner that seems to have lead to some confusion, and I now need to try to reduce the confusion).

    PSO HANEY AND REDUCED PSO COVERAGE IN BEAT 13Y

    The Beat 13Y PSO, John Haney, officially reported to the North Hills Neighborhood Council that he had been assigned ONE day a week (out of his four-day work week) to be on Patrol. This means an automatic 25% loss (not a 75% loss) to the PSO coverage in Beat 13Y.

    Also, it must be accurately reported that Officer John Haney continues to put in full-time hours, without change. The change is only in how he is assigned, and what work he is assigned to do.

    MEASURE Y

    The City of Oakland can collect Measure Y taxes if there is a budget allocation sufficient to employ 739 officers (I’m not completely sure about the EXACT number cited here, but it is very close if not completely accurate). This is a legal interpretation of the Measure Y resolution given by the Oakland City Attorney’s office, and the Oakland City Council is using this ‘legal opinion’ interpretation to continue to collect Measure Y taxes.

    Common sense, and the way that Measure Y was presented to the public, was that Measure Y would ADD officers to the 739, giving us a total of 803 officers. What has happened is a very sad tale indeed. For four years of collecting Measure Y taxes Oakland had a staff that hovered around 739 officers, but the OPD staff was never increased as required by Measure Y. Finally, there was enough ‘pressure’ from the citizens that Mayor Dellum’s staff proposed to spend $7.74 million of the Measure Y funds (mostly unspent because the Measure Y officers were not even hired)to increase the OPD staff above 830 officers. The way this was done was illegal, and after a lawsuit by Maureen Sacks, was judged illegal by the legal system, resulting in a new encumberance to the City of somewhere about $18 million dollars. The City is, amazingly, appealing the decision.

    The City Council has not approved any new Police Academies since hiring to 830 officers, thereby forcing the OPD staffing level to drop to a current level of 774 officers (as of 2/24/10, and continuing to drop monthly). If we subtract the new Measure Y officers that were added to the staff, that brings the ‘base’ staffing levels to below 739 officers. It is very possible that the total number of officers in OPD will be below 739 itself before the end of 2010.

    Yet, the Measure Y monies are being spent, day by day, at the tune of some 11 million a year, to pay for LESS officers than when we (as voters) approved the addition of 69 officers to the ‘base’ number of 739 officers.

    Jim Dexter
    Chair, Beat 13Y
    North Hills Neighborhood Council


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