Oakland Needs a Public Safety Oversight Commission
Oakland is 12 years into a Negotiated Settlement Agreement over police reforms meant to be concluded in five years. The delay in compliance has cost the City of Oakland many additional millions of dollars in monitoring and attorneys' fees. During the last ten years, Oakland has paid out more than $74 million in settlements of police misconduct law suits -- more than San Francisco and San Jose combined!!!
The conclusion is inescapable: the City lacks adequate oversight of its police department. In fact, It is the lack of robust oversight which gave rise to the serious police misconduct that resulted in the criminal trials of the infamous ‘Riders’ and the subsequent multi-million dollar class action civil law suit that generated the NSA.
The authority to oversee and impose discipline on the Police Department which the Charter confers to the City Manager (Administrator) is impractical and insufficient. The City Administrator supervises every department head in the City and cannot closely monitor and audit the Police Department effectively. There have been no fewer than five City Administrators during the course of the NSA, yet OPD is still not in compliance with its terms despite successive promises to the Federal Judge from each of them.
Oakland residents should be able to vote on establishing a Public Safety Oversight Commission, appointed by the Mayor and the City Council whose mandate would be to oversee, monitor, audit and determine the policies and practices of the Oakland Police Department.
If you agree that such a measure should appear on the November 2016 ballot, won’t you sign this petition?