Oakland, CA -- On Friday, February 13, 2021, Mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong announced the creation of dedicated Police Liaisons to the two largest non-English speaking communities in Oakland -- Chinatown and Fruitvale – within the Chief’s office, as well as other safety enhancements. Chief Armstrong will have the new dedicated Liaison positions report directly to the Office of the Chief of Police.
“When I was sworn in last week, I pledged to the Oakland community that OPD would protect and serve, reduce crime and build trusting relationships in our community," said Armstrong. "The liaison's role is designed to bridge cultural gaps and language barriers, open the channels of communication, work together to build trusting relationships, and increase community safety."
“The horrific targeting of victims based on race or nationality has no place in our diverse, sanctuary city of Oakland. We will restore these officers – as so many in the community have demanded – while at the same time invest in non-police safety measures as well. Holistic community safety has always been my priority,” said Mayor Schaaf. “While Oakland continues to struggle from the economic impacts of Covid, restoring these dedicated Police Liaisons and elevating their positions are a necessary investment to keep some of our most vulnerable communities safe.”
Mayor Schaaf also pledged to fast-track grants for additional security cameras for Chinatown and announced a $30,000 private grant to the Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay. With recent increases in violent crimes across the city and disturbing assaults against elderly victims in Chinatown, this announcement was met with support from community leaders.
“We appreciate the creation of this dedicated resource for Chinatown and our Chinese-speaking residents, particularly our seniors,” said Carl Chan, of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. “Mayor Schaaf has been a consistent voice for public safety.”
“Chinatown asked for our Mayor to help restore police presence and she did,” said Spencer Chew, President of the Oakland Loong Kong Tien Yee Association and Oakland Consolidated Chinese Association Elder. “We also appreciate the responsiveness of our new Police Chief Armstrong as we want everyone to celebrate the Lunar New Year with a sense of safety, especially following such recent traumatic crimes.”
“Having a dedicated Spanish-speaking officer in the Fruitvale, along with Oakland’s sanctuary policies, will increase our Spanish-speaking residents’ sense of safety,” said Chris Iglesias, CEO of the Unity Council. “We appreciate the Mayor’s long-standing commitment to our community. We haven’t forgotten the tremendous risks she took standing up to Trump to protect all immigrants.”
These neighborhood-based Liaisons will work closely with other police ancillary Liaisons for the African American Community, LGBTQ+ Community and Muslim Community to serve as trusted, culturally competent liaisons to these communities, as well as to advise Chief Armstrong in his efforts to improve their sense of safety and trust.
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