OPD Needs Real Civilian Oversight–We Need a Police Commission

A coalition of folks are putting together this proposal and asking the City to lend a hand and vote to put this charter change on the ballot for November. The thinking is that now is the time-the threat of a federal takeover is breathing down our collective neck. A takeover would cost us additional funds and take at least 50% of our city budget out of our hands while a Police Commission could be a game changer, offering an opportunity for the community to finally exercise some control over this costly department.

[We will forward the names of supporters and coalition members soon.]


Oakland is ten years into a Negotiated Settlement Agreement over police reforms meant to be concluded in five years. The delay in compliance threatens to place the Oakland Police Department into Federal receivership. This will be the first time in U.S. history that any police department has been taken over by the Feds.

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.  Already cash strapped, Oakland has paid over $58 million in civil law suits in the past ten years – more than San Francisco and San Jose, combined – and millions more in Federal monitoring fees and plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.

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 Police Commission, appointed by the Mayor and the City Council whose mandate would be to oversee, monitor, audit  and influence policy and practices of the Oakland Police Department, won’t you  sign this petition!

If you agree that such a measure should appear on the November 2102 ballot, won’t you sign this petition? Go to http://www.ipetitions.com/widget/view/441808

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