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The current policing mess has a fundamental basis which needs to be clearly understood.
We do not as a city have a plan for working from our present problem-ridden condition towards a clear vision for a better future. We just let things happen and then we make often-foolish, always short-sighted, last-minute efforts to try to patch things up.
Instead of following the Federal court's police-reform mandate from 2004, we, via city hall, failed for a decade to do anything productive. Then, a few years ago, when Jean Quan was Mayor, the court essentially took over the police department from city hall and placed it under Monitor Robert Warshaw. When Warshaw decided that a Chief had to go, the current excrement hit the propeller. We have to keep in mind that city hall's long-term irresponsibility empowered Monitor Warshaw.
We have in city hall now the same group of people who have there for the last decade and more, with the same inabilities.
We have a combination of poverty, crime, inadequate policing, poor police morale, housing displacement and other burdens. We need to understand our problems and to identify how we are going to work on them in a coordinated way that our limited resources can support.
Instead of thinking clearly, planning thoroughly and working our way forward we react to whatever short-term problem pops up at any one time.
Thus now we are talking about cutting back on cop recruitment and spending more money on social problems. While Oakland's social programs can be useful, this reactive, improvised policy change is likely to lead to even poorer police morale, diminished crime prevention and more long-term social stress on the poorest of us who experience the greatest amount of trauma from violence. Yes we need a police commission independent of city hall to oversee a problem-ridden police department. But we also need a lot more than a police commission.
So the cycle repeats as it has over very many years in Oakland. No transparency, no planning, no vision, no progress.
The real problem is that policing in America is seen as a "para-military" system, rather than a customer service profession. If customer satisfaction was actually the primary metric by which officer performance was measured, and based on which officer were hired and fired, everything would change.
Privatization should be seriously considered. While certain tasks can only be done by sworn officers, the majority of calls to which officers respond can certainly be done by private contractors - processing of simple fender-bender incidents, calls that can be answered by social workers, etc. Private companies can undertake the overwhelming majority of calls to which officers currently respond, saving the taxpayers many millions in the process.
At the end of the day, police officers are easily replaceable cogs in a system, and the issue is that we've put them on a weird plateau of heroes. It's just a job, and while it's a job that comes with life risks, so do many others - and in fact many jobs do come with a statistically higher risk of death and injury. We pay these people to accept risk - plain and simple. This is America and we do capitalism here - if you don't like the job terms, someone else will take it in your place.
We need to attack, degrade and fully destroy the police unions. Put civilian oversight over our police forces (bravo to the Mayor for doing this!). Privatize any tasks that can be done by private contractors. Institute strict performance metrics and fire any officers who fail to deliver. Demand and drive ROI. It's not rocket science. Corporate America knows how to drive results, and the same optimizations can fix our governments.
schaaf knew about these problems all along, yet feigns surprise and new disgust . please . she should be impeached, and the people should have complete control over police, from hiring to training to charging with crimes, to firing
I've been fighting criminals in the Alameda County DA's office since 1981. I can't thank you enough. Keep rocking this beat! I'm not a "cop hater". Far from it. My grandfather was a cop, (Boston) and my mom's brother was a cop. I hate criminals wearing badges. Maybe the feds will actually be able to find a crime scene. you think?
Once again the ridiculous consequences of Measure X rears it's ugly head. Time and again it is obvious that Mayor Schaaf is way over her head. She does not have the background, knowledge or experience to run a city department, much less the whole organization. The idea that she or a novice city administrator (Sabrina Landreth) is going to whip the Police Department into shape is a totally unrealistic expectation. At the end of the day, it is not Schaafs fault. Measure X was adopted when an ex California Governor (Jerry Brown) was in office and uniquely qualified to be a strong Mayor. That will never happen again. Libby Schaaf is a private citizen with government experience as a staff assistant. Her ability to garner 50% support at the ballot box from the 30% of the citizens who vote does not magically anoint her or anybody else with the experience, knowledge or the wisdom to run a City. This is particularly true in a complicated and historically dysfunctional city like Oakland. The lack of leadership at the top is glaring. Landreth has been largely silent and invisible since being hired by Schaaf, despite the very public and complicated issues facing the city. Landreth also did not exude any confidence or enthusiasm at the press conference announcing the transfer of responsibility to her for Police oversight. In fact, she looked like she was about to open a day care center. What concerns me more is Schaafs energetic assertion that somehow she was going to magically turn the Police Department into the boy scouts. Lets be clear, some of the behaviors uncovered over the last few months is way over the line. However, she needs to realize that a Police Department is a para military organization. The internal salty language and gallows humor is not unique to OPD. Nor is it unique in the armed forces, fire departments, EMS providers, correctional facilities, law offices, hospitals or even college and professional sports teams. These are environments dominated by grown men and raunchy language and extreme humor helps cope with the extreme pressures of those jobs. With that being said, there are still limits that have to be established. The key is to have a strong experienced Police Chief who knows how to find the balance. Sabrina Landreth does not stand a chance. If Schaaf gave that same boy scout speech to the last interim Chief appointee, no wonder he headed for the hills. In fact, he chose a demotion rather than taking a job knowing that he would fail. No experienced competent smart Police Chief will ever take that job. As long as Measure X is in place, Oakland will never have strong leadership. If the citizens want change, Measure X needs to be repealed. If not, put on your seat belt and expect turmoil to be a constant.
While EBX's coverage of all this has been laudable, there is still the matter of what to do about the culture of policing in the U.S. When Libby Schaaf says she's hoping not to have to fire anyone else, that's how we know there is no commitment to make any structural change. Just fire a few "bad apples" and hope the others will see fit to lay low for awhile and cut the scandals, huh Ms. Mayor.
When will the Express and all other media organs get serious about what will be required? Which of course is no less than tearing down policing as we have known it, including sweeping out all officers, their so-called leaders, and their unions; reimagining policing as an institution; and then rebuilding it in service to the people. Read: not in service to power.
How about building a decent society while we're at it? You know, one that would obviate the need for much policing. Yeah, let's not hold our breath, for either scenario, eh? And most especially not for the media to publish any actual responsible institutional analysis that might lead to structural change.
Unlike San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other California cities, Oakland has no laws that preserve SRO units. The previous article pointed this out.
This article about is about the City Attorney and plaintiffs' attorneys attempting to enforce Oakland's Tenant Protection Ordinance. The TPO does not preserve SRO units, but it does bar constructive evictions of renters, regardless of the type of housing unit they live in.
Hope that helps.
Why did you show this officers picture, and the inspector from the DA, but not the others, who are also on administrative leave? What's the difference?
Not enough details of the Fairow's relationship have been made public to say anything specific about that. But in general, any time there is a relationship between people at work, you have to consider how "consenting" it is if there is a significant difference in rank and power between the two parties. Often the lower ranking person (usually a woman) feels things would go badly for their career if they refuse an advance.
We need that police commission as of yesterday. It's time to professionally move our police management towards professional and honorable law enforcement.
The Feds can "train" but they cannot legislate morality into these lot of cops that are rotten morally to their core. These cops commit crimes known & God only knows how many unknown crimes the have / are committing.
From the top (chiefs of Police) to the bottom they cover one another's perversions, sexual abuses of minors, prostitutions, & all sorts of crimes.
Worse than gangs this lot! At least gang members don't have their mealy mouths yapping about how they they "protect & serve" the community.
And the city officials are the same. NOT there to serve the people but only themselves.
How low we have fallen America!!!
@ Melissa Kittel,
Sexual abuse against minors, a cop killing his wife & having his cop criminal friends covering it up, has nothing to do with women nor men.
It has to do all with -- perversion, criminality, and an arrogant belief they were above the law. That the law did not apply to them, but it did to others that were not cops.
If civilians did what these cops did they' d be in prison by now.
Btw...The downfall of men & women ( humans) is -- self.
What a bunch of criminals acting as " authority". No wonder cops are not respected or trusted. Bunch of thugs & criminals the lot of them! and now sexually abusing minors to top it off! What next from these thugs with badges?!?
Every day you read they plant drugs on people, one kills the wife and his cop- thug- criminal cop friends cover up for him, they beat merciless people, one( I remember reading ) shot a elderly man because the stupid cop said he confused the old man's cane for a weapon.
IMO... Most cops are criminals, thugs, uneducated, arrogant, abusive, rude & stupid too. Most people that become cops only want to "protect & serve" themselves, not the community.
Cops of today are a vile bunch!!! And Schaaf another corrupt Mayor. Another useless corrupted politician. Fire her useless corrupted arse & kick her to the curb. She is good for nothing good.
I think the Black Panthers had it right. It's time for the citizens to take the law in their own hands.
Oakland citizens would be so much less informed if it weren't for EBX! thanks for you continued, solid reporting.
But one aspect of OPD news that i don't think you have covered is the release of Jennifer Eberhardt's analysis of OPD stop data:
Even PBS NewsHour picked it up.
Once the near-daily absurd allegations subside (they have to, right?!), solid data like this on what "normal" policing looks like will be critical.
I think she hired these guys just so she could fire them and state how much she hates men. She couldn't have figured out the guy had an affair before she hired him,but she found out a day later. She knows these guys backgrounds and they were hire and then fired so she could scapgoate the whole department.
Maybe the police need to actually abide by the law and quit acting like criminals. Sex on the job, sex with minors, sex in exchange for police protection, these are crimes and those responsible are finally being held accountable.
I would be curious to find out if anyone would challenge Sabrina Landreth's orders, since a city administrator is not in the Department General Orders for chain of command.
One might interpret anything she says as an unlawful order because she is not a peace officer. OPD isn't supposed to follow unlawful orders.
It is my hope that the scumbag murderers of Judy Salamon are not freed due to this mess because society does not deserve the risks of having them on our streets.
It is my hope that Mayor Schaaf will be given a chance to drive her mission to rectify the ills of the OPD. This has been incredibly embarrassing for her, and, yet she has admitted her mistakes publicly and without reluctance. Mayor Schaaf has taken great political risk for doing the right thing for Oakland residents and this fell on her watch because leaders of the past simply kicked the can down the road.
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