Oakland lands grant for 15 police officers

Oakland has received a $1.875 million federal grant that will allow the city to hire more 15 more police officers, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, announced this week.

The grant from the Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, program is less than half of the $4.5 million grant that Oakland received last year.

Oakland officials said the COPS program has now funded a total of 91 new police officers in four grant awards since 2009. Lee said grants were also awarded to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the city of San Leandro, proving funding for a total of 27 new officers in the East Bay, including Oakland.

Lee said in a statement:

“Especially at this time when departments face high resource constraints, these federal grants help address public safety and promote community-oriented policing.”

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said:

“These vital resources will be put to good use, strengthening programs and strategies with proven track records at reducing crime and saving lives in Oakland.”

Quan said Oakland is on track to have its lowest homicide rate since 1999. Oakland police Chief Sean Whent added:

“We have made encouraging progress in reducing violent crime in our city and these new officers will allow us to make even further strides in our effort to significantly reduce gun crime in Oakland.”

Quan and Whent said news of the federal grant comes just days after the Police Department welcomed 20 new officers from lateral academies, increasing the number of sworn officers in Oakland to 684.

They said a separate academy that is scheduled to graduate by the end of October is projected to boost the department to more than 700 officers.