OAKLAND (KCBS) – Two members of the Oakland City Council said the police department is significantly below its budgeted staffing level, and they want to make changes to assure staffing levels for the future.

Oakland’s current budget calls for the city to have 675 police officers. But Oakland City Council Member and mayoral candidate Libby Schaaf said the city had only 611 officers in March.

“This last fiscal year has been a frustrating one because we have remained under our budgeted strength every single month so far in this fiscal year, pretty dramatically,” Schaaf said.

But Richard Cowan, Chief of Staff for Mayor Jean Quan, said budget projections and officer recruiting are not as easy as they seem.

“Budget projections are one time only – money you don’t expect, money you don’t get,” said Cowan. “It’s very difficult to know exactly how much money you’ll have at the end of the year.”

Schaaf and fellow City Councilman Noel Gallo, who also serves as the chair of the Public Safety Committee, said they want an additional police academy and new officer retention incentives.

Their proposals will go to the full city council.

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