Guess what? The city of Berkeley, California, where the police department doesn’t have a gang task force, drug task force, special investigations unit, canine officer, DARE officer, vehicle dash camera or taser, is losing officers by the bundle. In 2017, 26 members of the force quit.
In 1999, there were 215 cops on the beat; that number may soon diminish to less than 140. Meanwhile the city’s population has grown from 108,000 to 121,000.
As Blue Lives Matter notes, “In 2016, Berkeley cops responded to 78,000 incidents, conducted over 3,200 arrests, issued 5,600 citations and reported only 32 uses of force … in 2006, Youth Services was staffed with 3 School Resource Officers, 3 Youth Services Detectives, 1 Youth Services Sergeant, and 1 citizen Youth Counselor - 8 people working on the problems and the concerns regarding our Berkeley youth. Now, that same unit operates with only two Detectives.”
In mid-December, Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood told the Police Review Commission, “We’re descending to a critical period and it has gotten worse rather than better. We have lost so many officers that we’re going to have to rethink a bit of how we do business.”
“We’re going to have to figure out how we retain our ability to handle some of the most critical aspects of that while having them work on patrol,” he said, adding that one or more area coordinators from the Community Services Bureau might have to return to patrolling. “There are no other areas for us to pull people from,” Greenwood concluded.