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Dear Editor,

I am an avid reader of the Oakdale Leader and the news has indeed become an eye opener. As a citizen of Oakdale, I am deeply concerned for the safety of all residents of our city. Reports of stabbings, shootings, fights in the streets, gangs, thefts, robberies, drugs, burglaries, accidents and other less than desirable activities leaves one to ponder this question “How safe are we?”

The blame, in the article, for increased criminal activity in our city was directed at the budget cuts to our Police Department. Reporting via public news media, that the City of Oakdale doesn’t have enough law enforcement on the payroll to protect its citizens is a mistake. It is an open invitation for criminals to conduct their illegal activities in Oakdale with a reduced fear of police intervention. The existing gang elements here will invite renegades from other areas to relocate to our city to supplement their numbers due to the minimal law enforcement coverage, as reported.

If our city does not generate enough funding through taxation for the effectual institution of law enforcement to protect our citizenry, then I propose the following.

Our Police Department is always diligent in their efforts to maintain a safe environment for us to reside in no matter how short staffed or funded they may be. I suggest that our city of approximately 22,000 residents direct our donating efforts to our city “Police Department Budget” thereby giving them the tools to better protect us. I am convinced that our need for increased police protection at this point in time, is greater than the need for any other organization in Oakdale. We should use our hard earned dollars in a philanthropic action which will benefit all residents, businesses, visitors and discourage the influx of criminal elements/activity to our city.

Would the City of Oakdale Mayor, Council, Manager and Attorney establish a system that would allow for donations by Oakdale citizens to benefit the Police Department exclusively and not for any other budget shortfall? The time for action is now. “How safe are we?” Is not our safety a worthwhile cause needed at this time?

Frederick H. Smith