Recommendation: Change incentives for Oakland City Attorney to aggressively pursue decisions to terminate OPD officers as a result of serious violations of departmental policy
The administrative procedures used to sanction Oakland Police Officers accused of official misconduct are deeply flawed. Even where internal investigations confirm misconduct, the recommended sanctions are often reduced or dismissed entirely during appeals.
Some commentators have spoken to us about the importance of increasing the effectiveness of the Oakland City Attorney prosecution efforts in cases against officers accused of misconduct.
One potential avenue for exploration might be to ‘outsource’ the legal work associated with defending against the arbitration challenge. Politicians in Oakland often face intense pressure to be “tough on crime” (and by extension supportive of OPD), so one might imagine a situation where the responsibility for pursuing such arbitration cases would be subcontracted to a private firm. Other municipalities in California have already set the precedent experimented with outsourcing part of all of their City Attorney’s legal work, and specialized law firms are already emerging in California with a reputation for handling such outsourced municipal work.
Is this a good idea? Are there other ways to increase the city’s effectiveness purging its police force of the true “bad apples” who no longer deserve to be policing Oakland’s streets?