Oakland, CA – On Wednesday, September 16, Oakland’s newly appointed Reimagining Public Safety Task Force met for the first time, launching a robust, six-month community engagement process for defining a transformational vision for public safety.
Through the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force, the Oakland City Council is answering the call from residents and community leaders who have stated unequivocally that the time has come for change. The Reimagining Public Safety Task Force will engage in an open, transparent, and thorough process—co-led with the community—to create a shared vision for the public safety system in Oakland that is rooted in equity and addresses the historic and current disparities created by racism and economic inequality.
Our ambitious goal is to rapidly reimagine and reconstruct the public safety system in Oakland by developing a recommendation for Council consideration to increase community safety through alternative responses to calls for assistance, and investments in programs that address the root causes of violence and crime (such as health services, housing, jobs, etc.), with a goal of a 50% reduction in the OPD General Purpose Fund (GFP) budget allocation.
The Task Force’s creation was unanimously approved in July 2020 through a City Council resolution, and a framework for the initiative was established by Task Force Co-Chairs and City Councilmembers Nikki Fortunato Bas and Loren Taylor.
“The launch of this Task Force is the achievement of thousands of Oaklanders whose passion and participation in recent City meetings and in our communities over many years called us to take action for racial justice and true community safety,” said Task Force Co-Chair and City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas, District 2. “Together, we will reevaluate our public safety priorities and reinvest in responses that foster prevention and wellness and address the root causes of violence. To successfully transform our public safety system, we’ll deeply engage our communities, especially those most impacted by violence.”
“Together we will make sure that all Oaklanders are safer in their homes, neighborhoods, and throughout the city, right-sizing our response to public safety service calls by using police officers when and where needed, and deploying alternate solutions where they can offer more effective, efficient, and community-centered response,” said Task Force Co-Chair and City Councilmember Loren Taylor, District 6. “This will establish a model for the rest of the country to follow that is bold and transformative while also thoughtful and well-informed to ensure long-term success and improved outcomes.”
“I’m grateful to all the members of the task force who will help us make Oakland a national model in the movement to reimagine public safety and build safer communities across our country,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said.
Reimagining Public Safety Task Force Members
The Task Force will be comprised of two co-chairs, two co-facilitator organizations, 17 appointed members, and 4 advisory boards, supported by a City Administration team, as follows:
- City Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas (District 2)
- City Councilmember Loren Taylor (District 6)
- National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR)
Task Force Membership (see bios of each member here):
- 8 members appointed by each of the City Councilmembers
- Anne Marks (District 1)
- David Kakishiba (District 2)
- Antoine Towers (District 3)
- Brooklyn Williams (District 4)
- Mariano Contreras (District 5)
- Keisha Henderson (District 6)
- Reygan Cunningham (District 7)
- James Burch (At- Large)
- 1 member appointed by Mayor Schaaf
- Pat Kernighan
- 3 members representing each of the 3 public safety boards
- Carol Wyatt (representing Community Policing Advisory Board)
- Nikki Uyen Thug Dinh (representing Safety Services Oversight Committee)
- Ginale Harris (Police Commission)
- 2 members representing the Oakland Youth Advisory Commission
- Ivan Garcia
- Losaline Moa
- 1 member representing the Budget Advisory Commission
- Brenda Roberts
- 2 additional members appointed by the Co-Chairs
- Gus Newport
- John Jones III
In addition to the Task Force, there will be four Advisory Boards of up to 35 members each which will provide critical information and advice to the Task Force within four subjects/areas of expertise: 1) Budget & Data Analysis; 2) Alternate Responses & Community Investments; 3) Legal Barriers & Opportunities; and 4) OPD Organization and Culture Advisory Board (formerly “Community Policing”).
To support this effort, the City Administrator has convened a team of City staff, including department directors, senior staff, and subject-area experts with a broad range of policy and technical expertise who will be available to provide data, background information, and other support.
Opportunities for Community Engagement
Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force was established as a response to the call from diverse communities most impacted by policing to end brutality and criminalization and shift the paradigm about public safety away from policing and prisons toward healing and community investment. The Task Force will work to comprehensively engage these same communities throughout the process to share critical perspectives and ideas that are grounded in lived experience.
The community engagement process, which will be launched later this month, will include a series of virtual town halls, a comprehensive public safety survey, and partnerships with base-building organizations and coalitions. For more information and to engage with the Task Force, please check the official website for regular updates.
September 16, 2020: Task Force Kickoff Meeting
September 29, 2020: Introduction of Task Force to Joint Meeting of City Council, Community Policing Advisory Board (CPAB), Public Safety Services Oversight Commission (SSOC) and Police Commission
December 31, 2020: Draft Task Force Recommendations Presented to City Council
March 31, 2021: Final Task Force Recommendations Presented to City Council
June 30, 2021: Deadline for City Council to Adopt FY2021-23 Budget
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