November 12, 2020
Violent crime in Oakland and many other US cities has seriously increased this year-
The Oakland Police Officers Association ran a full page advertisement in the East Bay Times calling for the Oakland Police Commission to come up with a plan to “fight Oakland’s ESCALATING VIOLENT CRIME.” (caps in original)
Fighting crime is the task of the Oakland Police Department under the supervision of the Oakland city administrator and the mayor. The Oakland Police Commission is not in the OPD’s chain of command and has no authority to take over that task, nor does it have the means to do
Measure LL and Measure S1, both approved by more than 80% of Oakland’s voters, gave the Oakland Police Commission the job of overseeing the Police Department to make sure it follows best practices and constitutional policing. The Police Department has its job—fighting crime.
The Commission has its job—providing civilian oversight of the police.
Why would the OPOA try to confuse the public about the role of the Police Commission and try to blame the Commission for a spike in violent crime? The Police Commission does not run the OPD and was not designed to take over the OPD’s functions.
But trying to unfairly deflect blame on to others has always been Donald Trump’s way of escaping responsibility and it seems the OPOA has adopted his playbook. The professionals in the OPD and the elected mayor of Oakland are responsible for finding a way to deal with violent crime as well as complying with the 17 year long federal oversight requirements. The Police Commission is there to provide community input and make sure they do it legally and responsibly. The buck stops with the police chief and the mayor. Not the Police Commission.
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