Monday, March 2, 2009

The Silver Lining at OPD

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Mar 2, 2009 at 10:21 AM

We won't have to read about or listen to Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker's warped view of reality anymore. Tucker's last day was on Saturday, but before he cleaned out his desk, he told the Trib's Kelly Rayburn -- apparently with a straight face -- that the department was the "healthiest" it's been in years. Huh? If this is healthy, I'd hate to see "sick." It's hard to remember a time when the department was in worse shape. Tucker's tenure has been marked by a historic jump in violent crime and a department rocked by scandal after scandal. He has to go down as one of the worst police chiefs the city has ever had.

And the comments from City Administrator Dan Lindheim aren't much more encouraging. The Chron's Chris Heredia quotes Lindheim praising Tucker, saying that "crime is still unacceptably high, but it's lower than when he came in." That's flat-out wrong. Crime jumped astronomically in 2006, Tucker's second year as chief, and has remained high ever since. Lindheim's ignorance on this issue is staggering, and does not bold well for the Dellums' administration national search to find Tucker's replacement.

And finally, a word about journalism versus stenography. Heredia, a good guy and good reporter, should have challenged Lindheim. It's not okay to just allow someone to spout falsehoods in the paper, without pointing out their error. Lindheim's mistake would have been easily rebutted, and it shouldn't have been allowed to stand alone as if it were true.

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