Ella Baker Center Statement on Rebecca Kaplan’s Request to Audit the Oakland Police Department

On January 29, 2018 Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan called on Oakland City Auditor Brenda Roberts to conduct, as soon as possible, an audit of the Oakland Police Department.

Specifically, Councilmember Kaplan requests:

  1. An audit of the police department over-spending, comparing adopted budgets with actual expenditures, and identifying areas of over-expenditure

  2. An analysis of processes and controls used to authorize spending, including who is involved, and whether checks that should be catching this problem are being skipped;

  3. An examination of the categories of use of overtime; An audit of police deployment policies and procedures, to determine usage of police personnel including: assignment of walking neighborhood beat officers, (including how often are beats not covered), amount of time spent doing traffic stops, time spent responding to 911 calls, police assignments to Council meetings and other gatherings, other special projects;

  4. A workgroup established by Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to study current bail and pretrial detention practices and provide recommendations for potential reforms released their report, identifying recommendations to overhaul California’s pretrial system.

The following is a statement from Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Executive Director Zachary Norris, in response:

“First and foremost, we'd like to acknowledge and thank the Coalition for Police Accountability for their continued organizing, advocacy and effort to hold the Oakland Police Department accountable to the community.

We believe we must look beyond policing to ensure real community safety. This means we need local budgets that prioritize investment in real public safety—including public health based approaches, mental health services and restorative practices—and divest from policing and militarization.

Our elected officials have a responsibility to make sure local taxpayer dollars are being spent effectively to ensure community safety. Pouring millions of dollars into a police department that targets low-income communities of color, continuing to increase the budget, and neglecting to reallocate these funds to services that improve the health and wellbeing of our community is not making us any safer.

In addition to an audit of Oakland Police Department, the Ella Baker Center is calling on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to conduct a management and financial audit of the Sheriff’s Department to determine how taxpayer dollars are being spent, to improve transparency and accountability, and to uncover potential savings that can be invested directly back into Black and Brown communities to promote greater stability, security and safety.”

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