The Oakland Police Department is proud to report that 38 men and women have successfully graduated from the academy. This, they point out, is the first time they had a training academy class in more than four years. Police Chief Howard Jordan described the day as being a huge positive for the department. Department officials said the graduation ceremony was held at the Scottish Rite Center and that more than 400 attendees came out to celebrate the event.
Of the 31 male and 7 female graduates, more than 11 different languages are spoken. Two additional officers who also received passing grades will be assigned to work with the Vallejo PD.
The Oakland Police Department has reportedly been challenged in recent years after attrition and layoffs dwindled their staff. More than 830 officers were on the force in 2008. Until last weekend, that number had fallen by more than 220. This has been a hindrance to crime fighting efforts, they said, citing a belief that decreased police presence in city streets is likely related to recent spikes in crime. The new graduates will not be immediately assigned to a regular beat, they said. They will instead undergo 20 weeks of field training from veteran officers.
Local residents say they are pleased to soon be seeing new faces and are hopeful that additional planned academies will help replenish Oakland PD ranks.