We won at the polls with Measure S1
CPA’s biggest victory of 2020 was the overwhelming 81% vote in November to pass Measure S1, which is an improvement to Measure LL that established the Police Commission in 2016. S1 gives the civilian-led Police Commission greater independence, removing Legal Counsel and Inspector General staff positions from the authority of the City. The measure also adds to the Inspector General’s policy portfolio any issues subject to the 17 year-old Negotiated Settlement Agreement. CPA member and legal advisor, Larry White, sees the measure empowering the Police Commission to help OPD get out from under federal court oversight after nearly two decades.
For more, see Darwin Bond-Graham's summary in The Oaklandside and coverage by KRON4.
We Piloted the 911 alternative, MACRO
Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (MACRO) 911 Alternative: Response Teams Update
A contract has been awarded to BACS to implement two pilots in East and West Oakland for 18 months. Although MACRO is currently under the Department of Violence Prevention, there is strong interest in bringing MACRO into the City after the initial pilot, possibly under the Fire Department.
During the pilot implementation, MACRO will need strong support: educating neighborhoods in the pilot area, collecting supplies for the MACRO vans to distribute, and writing grant proposals. If you are able to help, please let us know by replying to this email.
CPA has led community voices to insist on the original model:
- MACRO teams respond to a broad range of emergency calls that do not involve violence or serious crime.
- Eliminate employment barriers so MACRO can hire Oaklanders who can best use de-escalation and harm reduction responses to serve the communities that they come from.
- Create excellent jobs so the program thrives with a stable workforce; MACRO responders must be well-compensated for stressful and challenging emergency response work.
- Community members know that engaging with MACRO is voluntary and centers their voice and experience in solving situations.
We are supporting a youth-focused support Board, NOAB
Oakland's Neighborhood Opportunity and Accountability Board (NOAB) is a youth diversion program—launched in April, 2020 after a multi-year planning process—that allows young people charged with offenses for which they would otherwise be detained in juvenile hall and adjudicated through the juvenile court to remain in the community and immediately connect to services and support resources. Since April, the Oakland Police Department has referred more than 20 youth to the program at the point of arrest in lieu of system involvement. Youth referred to the NOAB appear before a council of community leaders to develop a detailed support plan. Youth are diverted to NOAB before they are officially charged, so they have no police record.
CPA and the Police Commission both have supported development of the NOAB strategy. CPA leaders Rashidah Grinage and John Jones III serve on the Board and were instrumental in its creation.
We are serving on the "Reimagining Public Safety" Task Force
CPA members have been actively participating in the “Reimagining Public Safety” Task Force that has a goal of re-allocating 50% of OPD's budget to alternative public safety strategies. Among many innovations that have been considered by the Task Force to date are ending Internal Affairs investigations of citizen complaints by OPD Internal Affairs and making Citizens Police Review Agency, under authority of the Police Commission, the primary investigative body; citywide expansion ASAP after pilots of MACRO; expansion of restorative justice models, particularly for youth, like NOAB; capping OPD overtime; enhanced performance evaluation, discipline, training and trust-building within OPD; and incentives to hire and retain officers who reflect community values.
CPA members who serve on the Task Force and Advisory Committees are Mariano Contreras (Task Force), John Jones III (Task Force), Terri McWilliams, Paula Hawthorn & Michael Tigges (OPD Organization & Culture advisory group), Rashidah Grinage & Nick Slater (Legal & Policy Barriers), and Anne Janks (Budget Data & Analysis).
Draft recommendations are being presented to the City Council in mid-February, with final recommendations to Council scheduled for March 31 and City Council adoption of the final 2021-2023 City budget on June 30.
More Information on the Task Force here.
We are (always!) advocating for revisions to OPD policies
Our Police Commission has established a strong record of progressive OPD policy revisions implemented, with more to come!
If you are interested in working on developing policies, it does not require a special background and there is much to be done! Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Daigle Use of Force Summit - Steering Committee member Bruce Schmiechen participated in a 3-Day Use of Force Summit hosted by Daigle Law Group in early December, reported here. Read about how an 'us vs. them' culture contributes to policies that can harm communities.
New policies authorized by the Police Commission:
The Police Commission has the authority to draft OPD policy language, which is finalized unless vetoed by the City Council. They have finalized four policies to date...
Following the groundbreaking mandate in 2019 by our Police Commission of a "Stop and Search Policy for Probationers and Parolees," which gave them protections against unreasonable search, the Commission continued with three more policy revisions in 2020:
- Asphyxia ban — New OPD policy clarifies and extends ban beyond chokeholds to the actual application of force that killed George Floyd
- A major overhaul of OPD use of force policies — An overview and explanation of revisions of the Police Commission’s work on increased restrictions on use of force here
- Armed and unresponsive policy — Approach and tactics for sleeping or otherwise unresponsive people who appear to have a weapon, spurred by the Demouria Hogg and Joshua Pawlik killings
OPD policy revision in progress:
A strong militarized equipment policy restricting use of the tank-like Bear Cat and other military-level equipment in the community.
Policy revisions that are on the CPA and Police Commission’s agenda for 2021:
The following policies are old and do not address the concerns that community members raise at CPA events, listening sessions and Police Commission meetings:
Less-Lethal Weapons (tasers, tear gas and other chemicals, rubber bullets, bean bags, sticks/batons)
We hope to add protections for residents from vulnerable populations, limit the number of times and situations when weapons are used on residents, and re-organize policies to emphasize de-escalation over using weapons.
OPD is not consistent in how they address missing person cases, often based on the race and social status of the person. The family of Jonathan Bandabaila has raised serious concerns in how his case was handled and is offering important recommendations for change/strengthening.
Social Media Policy
As evidenced by the recent discovery that current OPD officers posted on a racist website and liked posts by a former officer who participated in the attack on the Capitol, officers still support white supremacist and anti-democratic views. The first step to rooting this out is to make clear, enforceable rules.
Not only does OPD continue to violate the rights of demonstrators, the City continues to be exposed to liability from violent and unconstitutional crowd control.
Other issues to be addressed by the Police Commission: Handcuffs and restraints policy, canines/dogs policy, community engagement general order, community policing training bulletin, internal affairs division manual, racial profiling general order, SWAT tactical operations team general order, criminal investigations of officer involved shootings and other serious uses of force general order.
Based on the experience of the Police Commission’s policy work thus far, it is clear that community engagement and transparency are vital to developing the groundbreaking policies that reflect and address Oaklanders’ experiences with policing. CPA is working with Commissioners to advance community engagement and transparency guidelines for all future policy work by the Commission.