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What's really wrong with OPD? The reported failings of the Oakland Police Department are serious and well-known. Cops lie to obtain search warrants. Brass assign detectives with known ties to the suspects they are investigating. On any given day, the department has an absentee rate of 30 percent. Morale is in the cellar. The current chief has taken a leave of absence, and from the outside, it's not clear who's running things at 445 7th Street.

By interviewing current and former Oakland police officers I hope to arrive at a deeper understanding of what ails OPD, what internal culture gives rise to the failings described above. This is not the sort of reporting that is likely to turn up evidence of concealed wrongdoing, but rather it seeks to shine a light on problems that are hiding in plain sight.

How will it help?

On November 4, Oakland voters rejected a ballot measure to fund more police officers and non-sworn OPD employees. In the coming months there will be much discussion about how to combat Oakland's stubborn crime problem, and how to make OPD more effective. These conversations will be far more productive if Oaklanders have a deeper understanding of what issues vex their police department.

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