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Oakland Police Avoid Federal Takeover, Give Up Control of Department

| December 5, 2012
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Oakland police captain. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Oakland police captain. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Oakland police officials have agreed to surrender authority of the department’s command staff to a court- appointed director. City leaders say they’re optimistic the deal with plaintiff’s attorneys and the police union will prevent a federal takeover.

The department was under that threat after failing to complete court-ordered reforms in the 2003 Riders misconduct case.

Critics have said Oakland police were slow in meeting the reforms, and this year federal monitors said the department had stalled on key tasks such as tracking problem officers, reporting the use of force and conducting internal affairs investigations.

As part of the agreement, a federal officer, who would be called a compliance director, would have the power to fire the police chief, overrule him on major decisions and demote his command staff.

“This is a team effort. I look forward to working closely with the compliance director and all the other stake holders to make sure that we are in compliance with the orders that the judge issued some ten years ago,” said Police Chief Howard Jordan.

The agreement must be approved by a federal judge.

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