OAKLAND POLICE COMMISSION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why does Oakland need a Police Commission?
For the past twelve years, Oakland has spent over $30 million on mandated federal oversight because rogue police officers profiled, harassed, abused, and in some case, planted drugs on hundreds of Oakland residents almost all of whom were black.
Right now, a Federal judge and his team are monitoring the police department. Once Federal oversight ends, there will be nothing to prevent the police officers from regressing back to the same unacceptable behavior that led to class action lawsuits.
This measure will provide a Police Commission with the professional staff and authority to effectively monitor police officers and command staff. The Police Commission will have the power to compel officers to testify at hearings and require the Police Department to provide requested records and documents needed to ensure accountability.
Doesn’t Oakland already have a process to handle community complaints?
Currently, Oakland has a Citizens’ Police Review Board to hear complaints about police misconduct. However, this Board is advisory and lacks the authority to carry out its decisions.
This measure will create a Police Commission “with teeth” and the authority needed to discipline officers in cases of police misconduct.
Will an Oakland Police Commission cost the City more money?
Over the past 10 years, Oakland has paid out over $74 million in lawsuits because of police misconduct. This measure will provide the City of Oakland with sustainable, local and robust oversight that should reduce police abuse and costly settlements.
How will members of the Oakland Police Commission be appointed?
An independent panel will select a slate of candidates representing the diversity of Oakland and submit this slate to the City Council. The City Council must then vote to accept or reject the entire slate of candidates.
Other cites have police commissions that haven’t been successful dealing with police misconduct. How will this be different?
Most other police commissions are advisory and lack the authority to discipline officers who abuse their power. Our model will have the authority necessary to reduce police misconduct.