OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The California Highway Patrol has agreed to extend its assistance to the understaffed Oakland Police Department for at least another 30 days, but the question of who will pay the bill hasn’t been settled, CHP and Oakland officials said Thursday.
At the request of city officials and Bishop Bob Jackson of Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland, Gov. Jerry Brown—a former mayor of Oakland — agreed in early November to have the state pick up the tab for having a small group of CHP officers work on violence suppression efforts in East and West Oakland for several months.
That agreement is expiring Thursday, but CHP spokesman Officer Sam Morgan said in a statement this morning that the CHP “will continue providing assistance to the city of Oakland for an initial 30 days.”
Morgan said, “We will continue meeting with Oakland police officials to determine the details of that assistance and ongoing efforts to continue improving public safety.”
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said in a statement that the CHP confirmed Wednesday that it will “extend its extra patrol assistance to Oakland police for an additional 30 to 45 days.”
Quan said she is scheduling a meeting with the state agency “to discuss the best ways to fund long-term help from the CHP.”
City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf was more frank in a phone interview, saying, “I’m throwing myself at the mercy of the governor to continue the partnership” and pay the bill.
Schaaf said it would put a “tremendous strain” on the city to pay for the CHP officers because Oakland and other cities have had redevelopment funds taken away by the state.
She said, “It’s devastating to think that the CHP officers who have been here would go away.”
Oakland had as many as 837 officers four years ago, but it currently only has 613 due to layoffs and attrition.
Schaaf said the city is holding three police academies over the next several years but that it takes up to a year to train new officers, and graduates of an academy currently under way won’t be ready for patrol until the end of the summer.
She said the city is counting on CHP officers and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies to help fill the gap.
The City Council voted last week to hire 11 deputies for up to 180 days at a cost of up to $265,000 to work 10-hour shifts twice a week on violence-suppression efforts.
Schaaf said she has been told the deputies could begin working in Oakland as early as this weekend.
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