Pamela Price, Alameda County’s first Black district attorney, officially started work Tuesday.
In her first day on the job, Price talked about some of the big goals she has in mind.
“That we are able to deal with our mental health crisis, that we are able to provide alternatives to incarceration for young people or first-time offenders, that we are able to create a path of restorative justice for the community,” she said.
The longtime civil rights attorney is vowing to bring more racial equality to the office and overhaul the county’s justice system.
“The people of this county have the right to have a district attorney’s office that they can trust, that we’re working for them,” she said.
Price’s top priorities include reducing gun violence, ending over criminalization of youth and expanding victims’ services for the more than 1.5 million people throughout the county.
She said she hopes to work with law enforcement to achieve her goals.
“I am the first district attorney that has both sued police officers and represented police officers,” she said. “I look forward to working with [Oakland police] Chief [LeRonne] Armstrong and the different chiefs.”
Among the 19 law enforcement agencies Price will be working with, the Oakland Police Department stands out.
“I’m actually very hopeful,” Oakland Police Officers Association President Sgt. Barry Donelan said. “I think change is a good thing.”
Violence is at the top of mind for the city’s police officers association. The city has had a persistently high homicide rate for multiple years, and its first killing of 2023 came on New Year’s Day.
Donelan wants to see more cases being tried to pre-pandemic levels and says it will take a multi-agency approach to reduce crime plaguing the city. He’s hopeful the new DA will see it the same way.
“Individually as institutions, we are not going to get a handle on it, but together, working together, arresting suspects, prosecuting suspects, helps reduce crime,” he said.