Getting Away with Murder 

The Oakland Police Department can't lower the city's crime rate, because it doesn't catch criminals.

Page 6 of 6

"Cops have lost faith in the command staff. Accountability stops at certain levels," said the current OPD supervisor. "If you have no leadership, we're gonna do whatever instinct tells us to do."


It's not clear what the future holds for OPD: Barring a dramatic turnaround in the economic fortunes of Oakland or California, it may be impossible to procure funding to fully staff the department at the current pay structure without stripping other core city services to the bone. The resistance of other Alameda County law enforcement to creating a consolidated crime lab leaves the city without a long-term solution to the massive evidentiary backlog. The doubts cast on the department's future by the impending receivership proceedings mean the command structure will be preoccupied by Judge Henderson's ruling until at least the beginning of 2013. What's more, the consent decree has never covered the troubled Criminal Investigations Division, and it remains unclear whether a federally appointed receiver would go beyond the current limits of reforms to address other problems rife within OPD.

The few bright spots that Oakland has concern the police department's collaboration with outside agencies. Federal assistance with long-term investigation appears to have become the norm — but it has yet to decrease the body count in Oakland's flatland neighborhoods. The much-touted return of Project Ceasefire after a previous incarnation was derailed by the city's gang injunctions (see "Oakland's Other Gang Program," 10/5/11) is in its infancy, but will struggle if it does not provide meaningful employment to offer young men and women involved in the street life.

Experimental programs such as restorative justice have attracted attention in Oakland's public schools, but the city has yet to try alternatives to incarceration such as San Francisco's drug and neighborhood courts. The status quo is untenable: Young men and women, overwhelmingly black and Latino, are dying in droves, and OPD's ability to bring justice to the victims of crime is increasingly compromised by a financial house of cards and the same internal dysfunction that plunged it into federal oversight almost a decade ago.

Comments (16)

Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-16 of 16

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Readers also liked…

  • Terror or Entrapment?

    Five recent Bay Area terrorism cases by the FBI raise questions as to whether the bureau has enticed young, troubled Muslim men to attempt acts they wouldn't have otherwise committed.
    • Jan 3, 2018
  • Oakland’s Black Artists Make Space for Themselves

    Responding to gentrification and the political climate, artists are creating work reflecting an increasing urgency to preserve the local legacy of Black culture.
    • Jan 17, 2018
  • How to Navigate the New World of Cannabis

    At 7 Stars Holistic Healing Center in Richmond, it's all about educating customers.
    • Jan 17, 2018

Latest in Feature

  • The Fault Line and the Dams

    Lake Temescal Dam sits directly atop the perilous Hayward Fault. How safe is it, and the nearby Tilden Park Dam at Lake Anza?
    • Aug 21, 2019
  • Attack, Pulverize, Destroy, Fundraise

    MegaBots Inc. paves the way for a giant robot fighting league — at least if the money holds out.
    • Aug 7, 2019
  • Catching Sharks in Order to Save Them

    Chris Fischer says his research is helping to save the ocean. His critics say he is needlessly killing great white sharks.
    • Jul 24, 2019
  • More »

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Holiday Guide 2018

A guide to this holiday season's gifts, outings, eats, and more.

Fall Arts 2018

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

© 2019 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation