Oakland police union announces
new staffing agreement to combat crime wave
By Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News Service
March 16, 2006
OAKLAND (BCN) - The union that represents Oakland's police
officers reported today it has reached a tentative agreement with
police Chief Wayne Tucker and City Administrator Deborah Edgerly
on a plan to put more officers on the street to fight a recent
Oakland Police Officers Association President Bob Valladon and
union attorney Rocky Lucia said at a news conference that Tucker
has signed the tentative agreement and it will be presented to
the Oakland City Council for a vote on Tuesday.
Police spokesman Roland Holmgren, who observed the news conference,
said he understands there is a tentative agreement but doesn't
know if Tucker has signed an agreement so far.
A spokeswoman for Edgerly said only that city leaders are "cautiously
optimistic'' that an agreement has been reached.
Holmgren said Tucker would hold his own news conference at 9
a.m. Friday to discuss the tentative agreement.
Valladon said the tentative agreement would put 72 officers on
patrol at the busiest times, up from the current total of 38 officers.
Valladon said the union agreed to Tucker's request that more officers
be available between the busy period of midnight to 2 a.m. on
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Referring to ongoing talks between the union and Tucker and Edgerly,
Valladon said, "Without question, the changes we've made
in the last 72 hours will bring crime down and will bring police
response time down.''
Tucker, Mayor Jerry Brown and other city officials want to beef
up the city's police force in response to a spike in crime this
According to City Council figures, homicides in Oakland increased
118 percent in the period from Jan. 1 through March 9 this year
compared to last year, from 11 to 24. The homicide total currently
is 27 following another homicide Wednesday night.
According to the City Council, aggravated assaults have increased
by 162 percent, forcible rapes have increased by 35 percent and
armed robberies have increased by 102 percent.
The City Council on Tuesday discussed declaring a state of emergency
that would have allowed Tucker to redeploy officers according
to his own plans without having to meet with the union any more.
But a majority of council members voted to wait until next week
to see if the two sides could reach an agreement.
At the Tuesday meeting, several council members and several members
of the public alleged that the union was being obstructive. City
Council member Pat Kernighan said, "The public finally understands
that the one and only thing standing in the way of more officers
on the street is the Oakland Police Officers Association.''
Valladon said Brown was the first one to tell the news media
about a tentative agreement, mentioning it on a radio talk show
But Valladon said a tentative agreement wasn't finalized until
noon today, after Brown finished his radio appearance.
Brown's spokesman wasn't immediately available for comment.
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