OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) ― Despite last-minute negotiations Tuesday, one of the nation's most crime-ridden cities had to lay off almost 10 percent of its police force.
Oakland city leaders and its police union failed to reach an agreement before a 5 p.m. deadline, forcing 80 officers to turn in their badges. The dismissals leave the embattled department with 696 officers in a city of more than 400,000 residents.
The sticking point was over job security. The Oakland Police Officers Association said it would give concessions and contribute 9 percent of their salaries to their pensions only if the city guaranteed a three-year moratorium on layoffs.
The city, however, said it could only offer a one-year freeze.
"I think we're all disappointed that we couldn't come up with an agreement at this time. But we tried really hard," City Council president Jane Brunner said Tuesday, adding that talks could resume at a future date.
Rocky Lucia, an attorney for the police union, said despite good-faith efforts, it was a dark day for the union.
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Not a good thing when they start lay offs of police officers in cities like Oakland or Stockton. In my opinion these two cities are two of thee worst cities in California. Most of the crime from the two cities coming from the black community.
Cities and states need to start making smarter choices. Budget and money issues exist. But law enforcement needs should always come first, and you should never make cuts to it.