The Oakland Police Department has long been a troubled public safety agency. Basic elements of effective policing— clear policies,accou ntability, and confidence of the citizenry—has allude the department for years. Intense criticism has mounted from residents and grass roots organizations that accuse the department of racism and corruption. In addition, many charge that OPD has done little to develop a better relationship with low income and minority residents.
The department recently received yet another blow when a federal judge expanded monitoring oversight over OPD as a result of its inability to come into compliance with reforms connected to the Rider scandal of the early 2000s.
In addition, Oakland police also continue to be criticized for their response to protesters during Occupy Oakland actions. On more than a few occasions the department has used tear gas, smoke, and bean bag projectiles to deal with demonstrators.
Oakland Local is seeking funding for a deep dive into the culture and life inside the Oakland police today. We want to deliver a balanced and non-partisan report that looks at the challenges and problems that face the police. We intend to explore how the department's current culture of control impacts the department's ability to solve some of the city's toughest crimes. We will also clarify how the federal negotiated settlement agreement plays a role in department's reform efforts.
To produce this multi-part series, Oakland Local will interview current police officers, and speak with public safety experts, grassroots groups, legal advisers and community police experts.
Can Oakland Police move ahead to develop and implement a plan for improved policing that will both reduce crime and improve the worst aspects of Oakland police culture? Will a toxic legacy hold the department back from true reform? Please help us do this deep dive into the Oakland PD. This series will build on coverage we have done on restorative justice, gang-injunctions, Occupy Oakland, and the Oakland police department itself.
As traditional media implodes in the East Bay, with the Oakland Tribune moving most of its editorial oversight to San Jose, there is an even great need for objective, insightful, non-partisan reporting. Jen Ward and Oakland Local can deliver this series on the Oakland PD, shedding light on critical issues and keeping the community informed.