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Oakland Police Commission Adopts a New Use of Force Policy

October 20, 2020

Oakland – Over the last week the Oakland Police Commission made two bold policy actions to keep Oaklanders safe. The Oakland Police Commission unanimously approved a new use of force and asphyxia policy for the Oakland Police Department during Commission meetings (October 8 and October 15th). The Police Commission’s action was fully supported by leadership of the Oakland Police Department, the Community Police Review Agency (CPRA) and several community groups, many of whom assisted Commissioners in developing the new policy by providing personal perspectives and subject matter expertise.

CPA Demands to Stop from Police Asphyxiating Residents

June 30, 2020

Many jurisdictions are passing bans of choke and carotid holds. We are asking for a broader protection of the other way many people die in police custody - asphyxiation. Please read our list of demands, ask your jurisdiction to pass protections against asphyxiation (as well as banning all neck holds).

Call 911 for a counselor? Oakland will pilot one alternative to police

June 29, 2020

Imagine calling 911 because someone around you is going through a mental health crisis but, instead of an armed police officer showing up, an unarmed counselor and EMT arrive. They might peacefully mediate an argument or find someone a shelter bed. They might take a person to a hospital, or give them a bottle of water. But nobody is handcuffed, nobody’s taken to jail, and no weapons are anywhere in sight.

Many of the activists calling on cities to “defund” or “abolish” the police envision this type of alternative system as a permanent solution, removing cops from thousands of service calls each year. Now, Oakland will give it a go. Last week, the City Council voted to set aside $1.35 million for a new pilot program called Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland, or MACRO.

Oakland City Council approves and funds MACRO pilot program

June 25, 2020

Calling their group the “Oakland Equity Caucus,” the four council members boosted Mayor Libby Schaaf’s budget with federal stimulus funding, increasing money for small businesses, municipal broadband, efforts to fight home displacement, healthy food for Oakland’s rising population of low-income and unemployed residents, and a lifeline for artists.

They also earmarked $200,000 for the Oakland Police Commission, which investigates complaints of officer misconduct, and delegated $2.35 million to a program that would divert some 911 emergencies to mental health professionals instead of police. 

Copy Of -Oakland City Council approves and funds MACRO pilot program

June 25, 2020

Calling their group the “Oakland Equity Caucus,” the four council members boosted Mayor Libby Schaaf’s budget with federal stimulus funding, increasing money for small businesses, municipal broadband, efforts to fight home displacement, healthy food for Oakland’s rising population of low-income and unemployed residents, and a lifeline for artists.

They also earmarked $200,000 for the Oakland Police Commission, which investigates complaints of officer misconduct, and delegated $2.35 million to a program that would divert some 911 emergencies to mental health professionals instead of police. 

Proposal to Provide Non-Police Response to Certain 911 Calls

April 08, 2020

Urban Strategies, community leaders, mental health and unhoused providers, and the Coalition for Police Accountability are working to design a pilot that reflects the unique communities, resources, and needs of Oakland. The pilot will seek to respond to a broad range of non-criminal crises, including homelessness, intoxication, disorientation, substance abuse, mental illness problems, dispute resolution, non-emergency medical care, first aid, and transportation to services.


We can create a program that saves the city money, redirects police and fire resources to public safety priorities, and provides more appropriate assistance for people in non-criminal, non-violent situations.


If you would  like to get more information, support the MACRO pilots, or have a speaker come to your organization’s meeting, contact us through this website.

Historic Milestone for the Oakland Police Commission

December 18, 2019

Tuesday, July 9, 2019 marked a historic milestone for the Oakland Police Commission as the City Council unanimously adopted Oakland Police Department (OPD) General Order R-02 Searches of Individuals on Supervised Release, authored by the Commission.  This policy establishes clear precedent for other law enforcement agencies around the nation to develop community informed search policies. 
The new Department General Order (DGO) includes an affirmative statement regarding the adverse community impact of unjustified inquiries into individuals’ supervised release status and sets clear limitations on the time between a check of individuals’ supervised release status and any search conducted by OPD.  "Inquiring about an individual's Supervised Release, at the beginning of an interaction without proper justification is unjust.”  (DGO R-02 B-3). 


Justice for All - The Policing of Oakland's Unhoused Community

November 14, 2019

Homelessness in the City of Oakland is increasing at an alarming rate. In 2017, the annual Alameda County Point-in-Time Count estimated that there were 2,761 homeless residents in Oakland, 35% of which were experiencing homelessness for the first time.1 The increase in homelessness has generated public health and safety concerns, as outbreaks of Hepatitis A have ballooned and more unhoused residents battle substance abuse and drug addiction.  

 While only 4% of U.S. adults have a severe mental illness, approximately 26% of unhoused individuals staying in shelters suffer from one.2 Currently, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) serves as the primary responders to any concerns regarding unhoused residents, though law enforcement is not required to receive crisis intervention training and has limited mental health and de-escalation trainings. OPD is often called to assist with encampment closures at the request of the Department of Public Works, further ensuring contact between unhoused residents and law enforcement

Not All 911 Calls Need a Police Response

August 03, 2019

On June 26th, the Coalition for Police Accountability, along with Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan, the Oakland Police Commission, Urban Strategies and Faith in Action co-hosted a community forum  on the CAHOOTS model of a non-police response to some 911 calls in Eugene, Oregon. Two members of the group White Bird who provide this alternative response were present to describe  how the program operates and to answer questions. One 165 community members attended. This is the launch of an initiative to explore a similar approach in Oakland.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting of March 28, 2019

March 29, 2019

The Commission welcomed its newest member, Alternate Commissioner Chris Brown who previously chaired the Citizens' Police Review Board.

There was public testimony offered by those impacted by being on parole or probation, weighing in on the Commission's proposed policy on the 'stop and search' practices of OPD with respect to this population. Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods also provided input on this proposal.

The CPRA investigators were pressed for an update on their investigation of the Joshua Pawlik case and contemplate making some temporary hires to supplement the staff of only three investigators in order to meet pressing deadlines.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting of March 14, 2019

March 29, 2019

The meeting included a discussion of OPD policies that are under review and need Commission input, as well as further discussion on the stop and search policy of individuals on parole or probation. 

Edwin Prather presented the report he will be delivering to the Public Safety Committee on March 19th and the Commission asked for an update on the investigation into Joshua Pawlik's OPD officer involved fatal shooting.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting February 28, 2019

March 02, 2019

This meeting featured a detailed chronology about the OPD investigation of the officer-involved-shooting death of Joshua Pawlik which occurred in March 2018. What became clear is that OPD did not share all the evidence and files with the CPRA investigators in a timely way, a fact that has hindered CPRA in its efforts to complete a parallel, independent investigation. 

A new Commissioner, chosen by the community's Selection Panel, was welcomed - Tara Anderson. 

Oakland Police Commission Meeting February 14, 2019

February 25, 2019

One of the highlights of this meeting was the election of the Commission's new Chair - Regina Jackson. Another element was the resignation of Commissioner Benson. 

Additionally, it seems progress was made by Commissioners Prather, Smith and Jackson when they met with OPD Command to discuss the differences in their approach to the proposed revision of their Stop and Search policy with respect to those on probation or parole. That pollcy will be coming back to the Commission for a decision very soon.

Police Commission Hearing on Unhoused Communities

February 25, 2019

Oakland’s independent Police Commission held its first public hearing, Saturday February 16, on the critical issue of “Policing in the Homeless Community.” The hearing at Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church was facilitated by the Coalition for Police Accountability  (CPA) and a team of community volunteers.

Over 150 community members - more than one half of them from our “curbside communities” - came to testify before five attentive police commissioners. Also listening and hearing were  city council members Nikki Fortunato-Bas and Lynette Gibson McElhaney, as well as staff members from the offices of Council members Rebecca Kaplan (Council chair) and Noel Gallo. The  hearing atmosphere was warm, peaceful and trusting. Comments of concern and hurt as well as hope and goodwill were freely shared.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting January 24, 2019

January 26, 2019

Continued  and extensive discussion of the proposed revisions to the Stop and Search policy of individuals on parole or probation. Also, a discussion of the length of time it is taking CPRA to investigate complaints of misconduct and the possible impacts related to the statute of limitations imposed by Penal Code #3304 which make it impossible to notify police officers after one year from the time a complaint is received.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting January 10, 2019

January 11, 2019

After some powerful testimony during Open Forum, the Chief of Police presented her goals for OPD in  2019. After a vigorous exchange with the Commissioners which got testy at times, the community reacted to her presentation and questioned her priorities which appeared to focus on acquiring CALEA accreditation rather than eliminating racial profiling and coming into compliance with the terms of the Negotiated Settlement Agreement.  (Agenda item 5).

Oakland Police Commission Meeting December 13, 2018

December 17, 2018

Most of the Open Forum speakers talked about the importance of advocacy to advance the Commission's preferred policy on Stop and Search of individuals on probation or parole. The Public Safety Committee had rejected it in favor of the police department's version, but the City Council will have the last word in its meeting on Dec. 14. 

The Commission also discussed the items mandated by Measure LL that need to be prioritized, including a public hearing, as well as the hiring of legal counsels and the Inspector General.

Public Safety Committee Rejects Police Commission proposed policy reform!

December 05, 2018

Item 7 on the agenda presented two competing proposals to modify the OPD policy regarding stops and searches of individuals on probation or parole. The Commission's version (attachment A) would hold the police accountable to provide a written justification for the stop and search, and prohibit the officers from initiating a conversation by inquiring about the person's status re probation or parole. The intent is to reduce the racial disparities of stops and searches of African-Americans which continues to prevent compliance with one of the requirements of the Negotiated Settlement Agreement. The OPD version which was preferred eliminates these requirements, making them guidelines instead.

This matter will be heard and voted on by the full City Council in a future meeting. 

Oakland Police Commission Meeting November 8, 2018

November 12, 2018

There was considerable criticism of Chief Kirkpatrick's report on task 34 of the Negotiated Settlement Agreement: racial profiling. A proposal to amend the enabling legislation in order to ensure that the Commission has access to the CPRA investigative files was defeated. After over an hour of closed session meeting, the Commission announced that they had dismissed the CPRA Director Anthony Finnell.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting October 25, 2018

November 12, 2018

Ongoing debate about whether the Commission has access to the CPRA investigative files in cases that are being proposed for administrative closure. Discussion about whether a Commissioner's political activities are proper or call into question the 'independence' of the Commission. There was a discussion about the personnel evaluation that the Commission must perform for the CPRA Director, the Police Chief and the Inspector General. The Commission also thanked Commissioner Nisperos for his service and gave him a proclamation as he has resigned. The process for the interview process for the CPRA Director was discussed, as well.

Read the mayoral and city council candidates' responses to questions on police accountability and independent oversight of the Oakland Police Department.

November 02, 2018

Oakland Police Commission Meeting October 11, 2018

October 18, 2018

One of the hot topics discussed was the summary dismissal of the complaint against Chief Kirkpatrick with findings that did not sustain the allegations in the complaint. The Commission wanted to better understand the justification for the findings as well as why the investigations took so long to complete. The CPRA Director informed the Commission that they could not view the investigative reports, an assertion which was challenged by the Commissioners. 

A member of the public also raised a 'conflict of interest' complaint against one of the Commissioners who is part of a PAC formed to unseat an incumbent City Council member. The Commission indicated an interest in pursuing this issue in the context of its by laws and procedures.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting September 27, 2018

October 18, 2018

The Mayor communicated her understanding of the Oakland Police Commission’s role in oversight of the Oakland Police Department. The working relationship she envisions between the City Administration and the Commission including the Office of the City Administrator. The Mayor also spoke to her definition of transformation for the Oakland Police Department and what she has done to support satisfaction of the Negotiated Settlement Agreement There was considerable community push back on the level of her administration's support. 

Also on the agenda was the OPD report on the in-custody  death of Marcellus Toney.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting September 13, 2018

September 17, 2018

The Commission engaged in a back-and-forth with OPD about changes in the proposed policy governing interactions with individuals on parole or probation.  They also discussed  priorities in their future retreat and agendas. OPD reported on the request for information regarding the arrest of Najari Smith at the recent First Friday event with community members disputing the account provided by Area 2 Captain Bolton.

Oakland Police Commission meeting August 23, 2018

September 04, 2018

The Commission heard testimony about the arrest of Najari Smith as well as the complaint filed by Saleem Bey. They also discussed a new more transparent procedure for creating agendas and made plans for a training retreat...

Oakland Police Commission Meeting August 9, 2018

August 16, 2018

The Police Commission discussed the contract between the City of Oakland and Dr. Jennifer Ebehardt from Stanford and questioned why the data and analysis generated from this work has not resulted in a reduction in racial disparities in stops.

The Commission also voted to demand that the City Administrator hire the Administrative Analyst to facilitate the work of the Commission no later than September 15th. 

Also discussed was a new procedure for creating agendas and some discussion about a planned retreat.

The Hell No on H Campaign Wins a Major Battle, But the War Continues

August 02, 2018

The bold No on H campaign took on the PAC-like funded POA, who spent nearly $440,000 on this initiative. No on Prop H raised about $80,000—with funding from the ACLU, fundraising through members of the Bar Association of SF and the National Lawyers Guild, and lots of individual donations. The dedication, leadership, and support of local police practices and accountability activists and the Democratic Socialists of America made for an inspired campaign of determined volunteers—and No on Prop H won by a huge margin, a battle that no one thought was winnable.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting July 12, 2018

July 26, 2018

The Commission was pleased that the City Council passed the enabling legislation that provides clarity on their operational structure. They are now able to move forward to hire staff to support their work.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting of June 28, 2018

July 26, 2018

Police Chief Kirkpatrick  discussed the hiring practices and protocols and Neighbors 4 Racial Justice presented the work they do in the community to help combat racial discrimination and stereotyping.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting of June 14, 2016

July 22, 2018

Special features of this Commission meeting included the fact that it was hosted by the East Oakland Youth Development Center and featured nationally-recognized civil rights attorney John L. Burris who discussed the issues Commissioners will face when trying to determine whether officers' behavior rose to the level of misconduct. Well worth the watch.

Enabling Legislation Adopted by Oakland City Council on July 10, 2018

July 20, 2018

After vigorous debate, the City Council approved of the proposed Ordinance that provides operational guidance for the conduct of the Oakland Police Commission, the Community Police Review Agency (CPRA) and provides for the inclusion of a civilian Inspector General.

Jim Chanin discusses the 15 year history of the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) in Oakland

June 08, 2018

From his account:


"When the Riders case happened, we went to the City Attorney and told them we
would not settle the case for any amount of money without a consent decree. We
were tired of being part of an assembly line, where our role was to get money, have
publicity and the whole process would start over again with another big case. We
wanted real change to the Oakland Police Department and we were not satisfied
with making a living on other people’s suffering and tax dollars being wasted in the
City where we both lived."

Oakland Police Commission Meeting May 24, 2018

May 29, 2018

The Commission discussed their outreach plans, future training and were briefed on the complaints of police misconduct that have been investigated by CPRA...

Oakland Police Commission Meeting May 10, 2018

May 16, 2018

The Commission discussed the importance of developing a strategic plan, reviewed their suggested edits to the enabling legislation which is scheduled to come to the City Council on June 19 for a first reading. The CPRA Director also presented the case load of complaints of police misconduct and the findings of the CPRA investigators.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting of April 26, 2018

May 03, 2018

A number of community members spoke passionately about their experiences in encounters with  police, including the family of  Sahleem Tindle who was killed by BART police and whose death is being investigated by the Oakland Police Department. "Uncle Bobby" --Oscar Grant's uncle, also testified about the need for legislative reforms in the area of police conduct and reporting obligations. 

Oakland Police Commission Meeting of April 12, 2018

April 17, 2018

The Commission heard a report from the police department about the Cease Fire violence prevention strategies. Also discussed was the enabling ordinance and the proposed budget request. The Community Police Review Agency (CPRA) previewed the on-line program that will enable the community to input complaints of police misconduct and send videos and photos, as well. 

Oakland Police Commission Meeting March 22, 2018

March 29, 2018

Several members of the community speak during the Open Forum session. Later, the Commission discusses their budget, the progress being made in hiring staff and the scheduling of upcoming training.

Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability and Fairness in Law Enforcement

March 28, 2018

The Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement (the Panel) was established as an advisory body to the San Francisco District Attorney in May 2015 in the wake of revelations that 14 San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers had exchanged numerous racist and homophobic text messages.

The Panel was tasked with answering the critical question that the text messaging scandal raised: Was the racial and homophobic bias so clearly demonstrated by the offensive texts a reflection of institutionalized bias within the SFPD and, if so, to what extent?

Oakland Police Commission Meeting March 8, 2018

March 13, 2018

Important topics include OPD's comments about policies to keep schools safe and interaction with OUSD police operations and the policy regarding the sharing of police video recordings with families of police officer involved serious use of force incidents.


Also discussed was the disciplinary process. Another important item was Commissioner Prather's proposal to request that the City Council write to Homeland Security and state that ICE should not identify themselves as 'police.' 

The Coalition also proposed changes to the Ordinance that will provide the governance structure for the Commission.

How Do I Contact Oakland Police Commissioners?

March 09, 2018

Now that the Commission is beginning to take action and move their agenda, it's important for them to hear from the community they serve.


If you can't attend the meetings in person, they are televised live on KTOP (Comcast Channel 10 in Oakland and AT& T-U-Verse Channel 99). Unless otherwise noted, meetings are scheduled for the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, starting at 6:30 PM.


And, to weigh in, email the Commissioners; their addresses are below:

Thomas Smith (Chair)

Ginale Harris (Vice Chair)

Mubarak Ahmad

José Dorado

Regina Jackson

Mike Nisperos

Edwin Prather

Two individuals were appointed as alternates to the commission:

Maureen Benson

Andrea Dooley

Oakland Police Commission Meeting February 28, 2018

March 04, 2018

The Commission heard reports from Chief Kirkpatrick and her staff on the U-Visa program, Internal Affairs policies and procedures, the discipline matrix and the policy on the release of pdrd footage (portable video recording device). Commissioner Prather offered a proposal about ICE activities in Oakland.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting February 14, 2018

February 17, 2018

Chief Kirkpatrick addresses several topics including the recent Status Conference in Federal Court and the issues around OPD and ICE. Captain Figueroa discusses the status of the PRIME data program and D.C. Cunningham discusses Internal Affairs and disciplinary policies and procedures. The Commission elects its Chair and Vice-Chair and discusses the pending enabling legislation governing their operations.

Police Commissioners Receive Training from OPD Command Staff

February 15, 2018

The first in a series of required training modules was presented on Feb. 10th to the Oakland Police Commissioners. Topics included the OPD organizational structure, Internal Affairs policies and procedures, Procedural Justice and the course work provided to candidates in the Police Academy.

Proactive Policing: Effects on Crime and Communities

February 05, 2018

Proactive policing, as a strategic approach used by police agencies to prevent crime, is a
relatively new phenomenon in the United States. It developed from a crisis in confidence in
policing that began to emerge in the 1960s because of social unrest, rising crime rates, and
growing skepticism regarding the effectiveness of standard approaches to policing. In response,
beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, innovative police practices and policies that took a more
proactive approach began to develop.

Oakland Police Commission meeting Jan. 24, 2018

January 29, 2018

Some explosive moments when members of the community criticized the lack of documents contained in agenda items proposed for 'action,' leading the City Attorney appointed counsel to walk out! Also discussed was the current status of the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) overseen by a Federal Judge.

Oakland Police Commission Meeting January 10, 2018

January 17, 2018

See how the new Police Commission is beginning to chart its course, planning outreach and training sessions.

Is Civilian Oversight Really Effective? How Do We Know?.

January 17, 2018

The controversial passage of a new voter-approved law in Los Angeles illustrates the complexities of civilian review boards. Experts say there are better ways for civilians to keep cops accountable.

Report of the Court‐Appointed Investigator in Delphine Allen v. City of Oakland

Judge Thelton Henderson ordered an investigation into why the majority of misconduct complaints for which the City had imposed discipline were overturned in arbitration. He was concerned that the reforms required by the Negotiated Settlement Agreement would not be sustainable if discipline imposed by the City were not final and could not be implemented. Here's what Ed Swanson discovered:

The Oakland Police Commission meeting of December 27, 2017

January 05, 2018

The newly formed Commission begins to tackle important issues of enabling legislation, training and staffing. Coalition members voice concerns as well as offer support as the Commissioners build a foundation for the work ahead.

Models of Civilian Oversight in the United States

January 04, 2018

Barbara Attard and Kathryn Olsen discuss various models of civilian oversight of law enforcement in the United States as "an evolving governmental function established to provide monitoring of police practices and the misconduct complaint process, along with review of police agency policy and training systems".

Core Competencies for Civilian Oversight Practitioners

January 04, 2018

National Association of Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE)

Can Cops Unlearn Their Unconscious Biases?

December 31, 2017

“Implicit bias” training is spreading to departments around the country, the theory being it can influence officer behavior on the street. But it’s still not clear that the classes actually work.

Read the ballot measure that earned 83.17% of the votes in the November 8th election in Oakland.

Who are the 2017 Oakland Police Commission Commissioners? Learn more about who they are, where they come from, and what drives them.

Check out the first full meeting of the City of Oakland Police Commission that took place on December 13, 2017. #Oakmtg

Learn about local community organizations and other relevant information and events.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding City Charter Amendment Creating the Oakland Police Commission (Effective January 10, 2017 - Voter- approved ballot initiative, Measure LL, November 2016 election). Issued: October 10, 2017

Video recording of committee meeting. The first agenda items are presentations about rules and procedures, so skip to discussion items 5, 6 and 7 about how the Selection Panel will outreach to the community to solicit applications from Oakland residents who wish to be police commissioners.

Former St. Louis police sergeant Reddick Hudson discusses his experiences and testifies to the racial disparities in law enforcement practices, calling for increased accountability.

Proactive Policing: Effects on Crime and Communities

February 05, 2018

The United States has once again been confronted by a crisis of confidence in policing.
Instances of perceived or actual police misconduct have given rise to nationwide

protests against unfair and abusive police practices.


Although this report is not intended to respond directly to thecrisis of confidence

in policing that can be seen in the United States today, it is nevertheless important

to consider how proactive policing strategies may bear upon this crisis.

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