OAKLAND (KCBS) – An Oakland City councilmember said Thursday the city should explore whether officers from other police agencies could bolster staffing at the Oakland Police Department until the next academy class graduates.

“We are short on manpower, and we need to find some temporary ways to supplement it,” Councilmember Libby Schaaf said.

The crime rate in Oakland has jumped 20 percent this year, while the Police Department has lost 208 officers over the last four years. By the time the next academy class graduates in March, the city expects to lose another 29 officers.

KCBS’ Susan Kennedy Reports:

Schaaf said contracts with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office or the California Highway Patrol could be paid through tax revenue and reserve funds, although she has yet to identify a solid source of funding.

“I am hopeful that we would be able to engage in this partnership without having to cut existing services,” she said, adding the city had yet to determine the cost of outsourcing police work.

The cost could prove expensive, said Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson, given that deputies would probably be working on overtime to avoid diminishing police staffing in other parts of the county.

“We have people that live in the unincorporated areas that certainly don’t want to lose our patrol functions to the city of Oakland,” Nelson said.

Both Nelson and Schaaf agreed that such a program would not work without support from Oakland police officers and the police union.

“They are right now on mandatory overtime. We are working them as hard as we can, but they too share a concern for officer safety,” Schaaf said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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