OAKLAND (KCBS)— The Oakland Police Department (OPD) says it’s on track to hire 100 new officers by the end of the year, signaling a potential turnaround for the force that has struggled with dwindling numbers for years.
A 60-member police academy is set to begin on April 28th. Recruiting supervisor Antone Hicks said they hope to get funding for a second academy before the year is over.
“The chief’s magic number for the end of this year is 700 and we’re currently at 615,” she said.
That would still be down from the peak of 837 officers five years ago, but Mayor Jean Quan said they’re steadily building back up.
“I mean, it’s relatively a really good paying job. My average Oakland police officer makes about $100,000 a year when overtime is included,” Quan said.
Hicks said OPD plans to graduate two academies that started in 2013 this April and July, which should put 70 to 80 new officers on the streets. Last Augusts’ academy is expected to graduate 35 to 40 cadets on April 4th.
“We really would like community members to not live in this fear of crime in Oakland,” said Hicks.
Mayor Quan confirmed that a record number of women are currently on the force making that total 19 percent, which is above the national average. However, she said only 10 percent of the applicants are actually from Oakland.