Mayoral candidate and City Council President Pro-Tem Rebecca Kaplan today announced a proposal to require the city to hire more Oakland residents to work as officers at the Oakland Police Department.
“I’m calling for us to practice what we preach,” Kaplan said, speaking at a press conference Wednesday.
According to a report released from City Administrator officials, only 8 percent of sworn police officers are Oakland residents. According to Kaplan, the composition of the Oakland police force does not reflect numbers of Oakland resident who apply to join Oakland’s police force.
“There’s a mistaken belief that residents aren’t applying,” Kaplan said. Over1, 400 applications from Oakland residents were received for the past five police academies.
Though many applicants passed the written, physical, and oral evaluations, she said, only 32 Oakland residents were invited to join, according to police department data.
Furthermore, Kaplan says she has been told stories by residents who say they were rejected because of a low credit score or for past marijuana use, “which isn’t even an offense in Oakland.”
She says low credit disparities will exist in communities of color when check-cashing businesses are more accessible than banks. In addition, she said, white people are estimated to use marijuana as frequently as do people of color. But whites are less likely to have a record for marijuana use, she said.
If the council adopts a “formal policy similar to what [Oakland] has put on businesses contracted with the city,” she said, there would have to be more discussion as to why the 50 percent local hire isn’t being met.
Hiring residents of Oakland as officer has many benefits, she said. “Being knowledgeable of their city makes them more effective.”
Kaplan’s proposal is scheduled to go before the City Council’s Rules Committee on Sept. 18.