The liberal mayor of Oakland, California, blamed "defund rhetoric" for the lack of police recruits as she explained that the city was in great need of more police officers to combat a surge in violent crime.
Mayor Libby Schaaf, a Democrat, said that the "Defund the Police" rhetoric was keeping people from joining the police force, resulting in less safe streets.
Oakland is experiencing a surge in violent crime as it marks its 127th murder this year. The budget of the police force is scheduled to be decreased by $18 million in 2022, but Schaaf is now asking for that to be delayed in light of the crime spree.
"Let me be clear, Oakland needs more police. We have been interrupted by staffing reductions, COVID interrupted our recruitment and training processes, and the defund rhetoric is challenging our ability to attract and retain recruits," she said.
"And we know that is not unique to Oakland, but let me be clear, we appreciate the incredible service of the hard-working men and women that are in our police department," she added. "We want people to be proud of being in this service to our community."
Schaaf also blamed new liberal bail policies for incentivizing crime.
“I do want to call into attention the change in bail policies," the mayor said. "And we believe that that change is not giving sufficient weight in its consideration to gun related crimes.”
Two members of the council agreed that lax bail policies are adding to the growing crime rate.
“When we talk about repeat offenses," said Councilmember Loren Taylor, "these are things that we have to really make sense of in a way that helps to provide the carrot and the stick, if you will, that compels us to move toward a safer community."
“When those who are committing crime realize there is no accountability," said Councilmember Treva Reid, "on the street or in the court system — we are seeing that dangerous rise of distraction before our eyes."
Schaaf still supports the defund efforts despite calling for their delay.
“When those messages and services are not effective," said Schaaf, "the consequences must be swift and certain. There is nothing progressive about unbridled gun violence."
Some national Democratic figures have also blamed the excesses of the "Defund the Police" movement for the party's damaging losses in recent elections.
Here's the video of Schaaf's comments:
Mayor Schaaf Pushes to Reverse Oakland's Police Cuts During Spike In Violence www.youtube.com