Over the last weeks, Oakland unveiled two important public safety plans on improving the police force and fighting crime, as well as, evaluation results for yet another plan on violence prevention. Will sticking to these plans get us to a safer Oakland?

OPD Compliance Director Tom Frazier’s Remedial Action Plan presents a roadmap for more professional, respectful community-based policing as required by the Riders Case Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA). It recommends improvements to officer supervision, more thorough and impartial officer misconduct investigations, and accountability for executive leaders. To view the full report, click here.

It will require Oakland to invest in

  • more training on use of force, racial profiling, community policing and leadership;
  • equipping all officers with tasers and digital recording devices; and
  • improving OPD technology and investigations.

Frazier works for Federal Judge Henderson and has broad powers over Oakland’s police force. Frankly, I’m thrilled with his leadership.

I’m impressed with his policing expertise and community-based track record as Chief of Baltimore PD (a post now held by Oakland’s former Chief Tony Batts). Let’s stick with his plan!

The Bratton Group’s short-term crime fighting strategy makes some harsh findings, and then recommends OPD reorganizes into five geographic areas (map here) to drive down shootings, robberies and burglaries. Each will be run by a Captain who’ll have more control and accountability for driving crime down in his or her area.

The report also calls for better use of data and intelligence to stop crime trends and many more investigators who’ll also be dedicated to the five geographic areas.

Read more here and here.

Finally, Oakland released the 2011-12 Evaluation of Oakland Unite’s (formerly Measure Y) Violence Prevention Plan. To view the summary, click here.

This plan invests in seven data-driven strategies, ranging from crisis intervention for 0-5-year-olds exposed to violence, to direct street outreach for interruption of brewing violence in Oakland’s most violent hotspots.

Last year these strategies produced tangible results, including:

  • 92 percent of Family Violence Intervention Unit respondents reported that they had experienced no further physical abuse since receiving services.
  • 86 percent decline in suspension incidents at West Oakland Middle School, where Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth provides services.
  • 67 percent reduction in the number of clients adjudicated for new delinquent offenses among clients served by the five programs.

Recently, Oakland tasked the Wasserman Group with melding these many plans into one Comprehensive Public Safety Plan. I’m looking forward to its imminent release, even though it is yet, another plan.

Plans are good, but action is better. Still, results are best of all.

Oakland has a plethora of dusty plans sitting on shelves. Let’s hold some feet to the fire for actually implementing these strategies and doggedly monitoring whether our actions are producing the safety results this city so desperately needs. Let’s stick to the plan.

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland.


8 Responses

  1. Oakie

    I object to Tom Frazier’s title of “Compliance Director.”

    Given that he is appointed by a federal judge who is unelected and has a lifetime appointment with absolutely no oversight by Oakland voters, based on the NSA resulting from zero findings of guilt for any of the 4 OPD officers, and that no elected official has oversight of his decisions or his quarter million dollar expense account, I believe his title would be more accurately called Plantation Overseer.

    Doesn’t our government have an obligation to assign a title that actually describes what he represents?

    • Mike

      Heh. One wonders just what Oakie has in mind when he says “our government.” Maybe he means Oakland’s city government which is a great proponent of obscurantism–never actually assigning a title that actually describes anything clearly. My guess is that “Compliance Director” is exactly the phrase that Oakland’s government preferred over something much clearer like “Acting Police Commissioner, “At Last Someone Responsible.” To make it just slightly clearer yet, one needs to be aware that Oakland’s government has completely failed in its responsibility to manage and support its, that is our, police department for the whole of the nearly ten years since the NSA agreement was made. Oakie can rely absolutely on this–the city of Oakland will never accept responsibility for its mistakes and failures, either by word or by action. Thus the vagary of “Compliance Director.”

    • leggetopo

      Who was is said (chunk of paraphrase) “When in doubt, the simplest answer is usually the right one” ? My thoughts: crime? Shut it down by whatever means are made *necessary*. Otherwise, I’ll carry my own weapon, thank you. Come on – People sit around a table or a computer and chatter about social issues and this and that when it’s all about law. We have all agreed to obey the laws of the land, yes? Those who do not, who kill, maim, rob and terrorize should be stopped, and know they will be stopped, yes? So what’s the big deal? They know they’re criminals. We know they’re criminals. What’s up with the hand-wringing? Do I need to walk/drive around Oakland in my 61st year with a six-shooter in my purse? Oakland has thrown it’s hands up then? Thugs rule? And the public at large is worried about gun control? Fine: prosecute my grandma’s rump for possession of an illegal firearm if I need to defend my freakin’ life here in Oaktown…

    • Oakie

      You are referring to Occum’s Razor: the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

      I won’t go down that path; not something I will do. But it is fair to point out that if the level of violence and failure to respond by the system persists, some time in the future there will likely be vigilantism in response. Sad, but true. And those who could have done something but fail to do so will have culpability. I am envious of what New York City has: competence in governing it’s city so that the residents have a reasonable expectation of freedom from crime, particularly gun violence.

  2. Mike

    Libby Schaaf sez:

    “Plans are good, but action is better. Still, results are best of all.

    “Oakland has a plethora of dusty plans sitting on shelves. Let’s hold some feet to the fire for actually implementing these strategies and doggedly monitoring whether our actions are producing the safety results this city so desperately needs. Let’s stick to the plan.”


    The problem is that no one in government in Oakland has the slightest notion about how to implement any sort of plan concerning policing and public safety. The proof is ten years of failure to date to comply with the NSA, unrelenting violence and property crime over many decades, no overall direction for a police department which needs far better support and much improved morale. Schaaf needs to say exactly how Oakland will “doggedly monitor our actions.” Certainly the “monitoring” of Measure Y programs has been effective–none of the reported results can be tied to any reduction of violence or other crime on the street. The evaluator of Measure Y reported to the city last Spring about her reservations about the quality of the evaluation she had overseen. Anyone who has the slightest familiarity with social science can review the evaluation reports from the last year and gag in digust at the incompetence of the data management and analysis. Unfortunately Council member Schaaf and her cronies don’t do social science.

    It’s great to talk about actually doing something. It’s another case utterly to manage projects adequately and show clearly how effective (or ineffective) they have been. Oakland’s government simply does not have the political will or the skill to manage well or to report honestly to the public. City hall has proven this time and again.

  3. shoshonej

    Data is great, and it seems to be the most impressive language for crises and epidemics of every sort.

    However, it’s important to allow some affect into your data. How do Oakland residents feel? Who feels most unsafe, and why? Where does the fear originate, and how does it influence actual events?

    While politics, municipal management, compliance and other topics are important factors in the statistical realities of Oakland, we must also listen to the interlocking communities that compose the city in order to make a better life.

  4. Len Raphael

    The one thing that has improved greatly in Oakland government has been the sophistication of the recommendations and reports that its consultants and officials crank out.

    Council Member Schaaf obviously realizes that the most recent Bratton Report is largely a rehash of another report we paid for several years ago. Why it should be any more effectively implemented now than it was then is a valid question.

    Mike’s valid point about the absurdity of Measure Y evaluations should make one question what good “data-driven programs” are when the data is nonsense and the officials evaluating the data approve the programs for political reasons. Watch the KTOP video of the Measure Y hearings last June. Even the chief outside evaluation said the evaluations were junk. The council members shown on the video thanked her politely.

    Major problem here is that residents have not paid attention to local government for years, unless it affected their particular neighborhood or project. Oakland residents tend to be very politically aware of international, national, and state political issues but oblivious to City issues until they get mugged.

    As a result the same multi-racial in-crowd has run Oakland for three decades, after the old white boy network was ejected. More diverse yes. More rhetoric about social justice.

    Worse schools, worse crime, fewer jobs.

    Residents have to get engaged in local politics. Not just when they fill out their ballots but in volunteering for candidates and in contributing money.

  5. Rasheedar52

    I don’t feel safe in Oakland anymore this is not good after being here all my life 50+ years and seeing the Many changes made by the city to make Oakland safe people if something is not done about the OPD we as a city will not be safe Oakland is a great city just not safe. If you don’t believe me just dial 911 when you need help.


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