Monday, April 29, 2013

Police Monitor Cites Slight Improvement In Oakland PD Complying With Reforms

OAKLAND//POLICE REFORMS | The Oakland Police Department's record of compliance with a decade-old settlement aimed at reforming its ranks is getting better, according to new report released Monday. However, following a scathing report two months ago, its accomplishments are only as good as two assessments prior.

The mixed report from independent monitor Robert Warshaw noted the number of tasks in full compliance by the Oakland PD at 12, just one short of the highest number of accepted reforms since overseeing the department in 2010. The monitors visited the department in mid-February to assess progress instituted from October 2012 to the end of the year.

Warshaw also described optimism the recent appointment of former Baltimore police commissioner Thomas Frazier as the department's compliance director will hold the city's administration and police brass accountable.

He also reiterated a long-held criticism officials in Oakland have resisted reforms at the police department. "We have noted in our past reports our serious dismay with the Department’s stagnation in its progress toward effective, just, and constitutional policing," wrote Warshaw. "The Department and the City have stifled and sidetracked this effort for far too long."

Oakland's battle to reform its police department following the infamous Riders' case over a decade ago has been a long and tangled affair highlighted by institutional resistance to change. Warshaw was appointed as a federal monitor in January 2010 to force reforms upon the department stated in the 2003 Negotiated Settlement Agreement. However, compliance has remained slow leading to the hiring of Frazier as compliance officer to speed up the pace of reforms.

A previous report issued by Warshaw Jan. 31 came down on the department for regressing on a number of compliance categories. It also slammed police officers for allegedly pointing their weapons unnecessarily at citizens on five separate occasions and detailed officers pointing a gun at a 19-month-old baby sleeping in its crib.


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