Oakley Police Officers need the Council’s support – now. Item 7.1 on this Tuesday’s agenda (03-28-2023) is a work session to discuss enhancing the number of officers in the Oakley Police Department, contracting with the Brentwood Police Department for dispatch service, and ensuring that the Oakley officers do not become entangled with Mayor Thorpe’s (Antioch) political web. Mayor Thorpe has repeatedly stated his belief that all police officers are racist and must be oppressed and controlled. Oakley officers do not need that type of burden imposed by Mayor Thorpe. I am thankful that Councilmembers Meadows and Henderson agreed to discuss the subject from the council dais.
The number of Oakley officers is a concern. Historically there has been a consistent number of officers at home recovering from injuries. The ongoing percentage is approximately twenty-six percent. Our number of officers per one thousand residents is below the county and national average. (I campaigned to increase the number of officers when I ran for election in 2020.) The ongoing injuries situation, which one expects in police work, further reduces the number of officers available to respond to emergencies—increasing the deployment of officers, so the number of officers to cover for the injured officers makes sense to me.
I have negative experiences when I call the Sheriff’s dispatch for an Oakley officer to respond. The frustration has gone on for years. Other Oakley citizens inform me they have encountered the same. The result is the delay in the dispatch of Oakley officers in an emergency. I have heard many good reports regarding the Brentwood Police Department’s communication. It makes sense to me to enable our officers to connect to BPD in an emergency, enabling a faster response time.
Mayor Thorpe is a threat to the well-being of Oakley officers. Oakley officers do respond to mutual aid requests when needed in Antioch. Oakley officers have demonstrated they work well with Antioch officers. However, Mayor Thorpe has clearly stated all police officers are racist. He has said he has not allowed officers to use specific control holds, has a citizen’s commission to review officers’ performance, and eliminated what he perceives to be military-style equipment in Antioch. In short, he is vehemently anti-police.
I do not want an Oakley officer entangled in Mayor Thorpe’s racist web and suffering debilitating consequences. Below are links to news articles describing the governmental disarray that is taking place in Antioch because of Mayor Thorpe’s posture towards the police and Antioch citizens. I have reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of Contra Costa County, which outlines mutual aid. A special note needs acknowledgment that Oakley officers are subject to the use of force policies of Oakley, and the Oakley Police Chief will review officer-involved shootings. (pg 11). Also, Oakley is not bound to respond to mutual aid requests from Antioch, especially if it is a detriment to the officers and the residents of Oakley. (pg 4). I believe the City of Antioch needs to acknowledge these provisions in writing in a separate MOU. Below is a link to a copy of the MOU.
I did discuss the issue during January 24, 2023, meeting. Below is a link to a video of the council session. Yes, it was distressing to see, by their body language, that Councilmembers Shaw and Williams found the suggestion of officer safety and well being bemusing and comical. Fortunately, Mayor Meadows and Councilmember view the subject as serious, so I am confident that three council members will have a mature, professional discussion of the items from the dais. Councilmembers Shaw and Williams published items (Nextdoor and Contra Costa Times) that I suggested Oakley officers not respond to Antioch mutual aid requests. Those statements are simply not true.
Also, Shaw and Williams indicated that officers go to a mutual aid response no matter what. That attitude is dangerous and reckless. Any officer responses need measured judgment, and the governmental structure of Oakley needs to be in concert with their actions. Seasoned officers do support that reckless abandon in responding to an officer needs help calls can have devastating consequences for all concerned.
Again, a link is below to the video and my statements. (Councilmembers Shaw and Williams are sitting to the left as the viewed watches video.) There are links to Shaw and Williams publications also below.
George Fuller, MPA, MA City Councilmember, City of Oakley, CA