Next week, Oakland City Council starts its discussion on how to reimagine public safety and what to do about Oakland Police Department’s bloated budget. We are urging Council to approve Recommendation #59: Move Most Traffic Enforcement to OakDOT and begin a transition where armed police are not handling minor traffic violations. Rather, traffic safety experts in Oakland’s Department of Transportation (OakDOT) will have these responsibilities, and will shift their priorities from an enforcement model to a compliance model with systems change where streets are rapidly redesigned for slower, safer travel using proven strategies. Read the recommendation and comment your support today.
At 2pm on May 3, Council reviews this recommendation and many others put forward by the taskforce to Reimagine Public Safety in Oakland (Zoom link available here). Bike East Bay has been working with this taskforce for months. The focus of our work has been to ensure that any changes to how Oakland achieves safer streets are solid and actually reimagine traffic safety. Bike East Bay, along with leaders at the Anti Police-Terror Project and other members of the taskforce are advocating for bold, systemic change, not simply reforming Oakland Police Department’s Traffic Division priorities.
A crucial component of this recommendation, and one we want to see across the East Bay and nation, is an end to pretextual traffic stops. Pretextual traffic stops are when someone is stopped for a minor violation, and that stop is then used as an excuse to search the person or vehicle based on an officer’s suspicion of unrelated criminal activity. In the Oakland data from 2016-2019, while the number of traffic stops varied, the number of collisions remained the same. Pretextual traffic stops do not lead to safer streets, and too frequently have deadly consequences. Tell your Oakland City Council to move traffic enforcement away from armed police and end pretextual traffic stops today.
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