Dear Mayor Schaaf and City Council Members,
My name is [YOUR NAME] and I am an Oakland resident writing to urge you to defund OPD.
OPD takes an enormous share of the city’s general fund, and that percentage has risen exponentially for the last two decades, taking away desperately needed resources from essential city programs and services. OPD has overspent its authorized overtime budget by 100% -- tens of millions of dollars -- in recent years, as individual cops bring home annual compensation upwards of $400k. The investment in policing has not made us safer -- OPD remains an embarrassment to the city and a lethal threat to Oakland’s Black and Brown communities, while increased police spending shows no correlation to decreasing crime levels over the past 20 years. With Oakland's current finances in dire jeopardy, it is clear that we must defund the police.
As Oakland residents, we therefore demand that you take immediate action to ensure the following:
- Reduce OPD’s allocation from the General Fund by 50% (roughly $150 Million)
- Disallow unauthorized overtime by OPD
- Invest in housing, jobs, youth programs, restorative justice, and mental health workers to keep the community safe.
Oakland can not wait any longer for a budget that meets the needs of its residents. The only way to achieve this is to take immediate steps to Defund OPD.