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Oakland Records 100th Homicide, Votes To Fund Additional Police Academy

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Oakland will now have five planned police training academies. The Council’s decision, Tuesday, comes just a day after Oakland recorded its hundredth homicide of 2021. The city reported 70 homicides at this time last year.

Sheng Thao is one of six council members who previously opposed financing a fifth police academy in June, rejecting proposals to expand from Mayor Libby Schaaf and fellow council member Loren Taylor. But Thao introduced Tuesday’s resolution, citing concerns from constituents about the city’s rates of gun violence and securing funding to support other voter-mandated civilian safety measures.

Opponents of the resolution, including Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, argued the city should instead invest funds into citywide mental health, violence interruption, and recreation services.

The newly approved police academy is expected to host 20 new trainees beginning early next year.

I am a researcher and writer from Oakland, CA. I cut my teeth in radio at my college station and since graduating, I’ve worked as a paralegal, arts administrator, maritime historian, and most recently, a fellow at WorldAffairs, a global politics radio show and podcast co-produced with KQED. In my work, I am interested in the intersections of race, climate, and labor rights as well as place-based narratives of marginalization and the relationship between local history, public space, and identity formation, especially among queer and BIPOC communities. I am also passionate about drawing on the performing arts—particularly theater and music—to develop interview/storytelling practices grounded in mutual repair and community-building.