Recommendation: Improve communication with the police department
Many of the individuals we spoke with felt that one significant factor in the chaos of October 25, 2011 and other Occupy Oakland-related incidents was a serious communication breakdown between the OPD and the City Administration.
Former Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts complained of having to ask, “Mother, may I?” before making any major decisions. Mayor Quan tells a very different story; one where she may not even have been adequately informed of the plans to clear Frank Ogawa Plaza before the events on October 25, 2011 took place. This kind of breakdown in communication, followed by a string of very public resignations and finger-pointing between high-ranking officials in the city government and Police Department, led to a serious erosion of the public’s confidence in the ability of the city and the OPD to manage another crisis competently.
One possibility for the city and police to consider in the future might be some sort of a uniform joint task force that would kick into action in disruptive or emergency situations, where high-level officials from the police and city administration would meet on a regular basis to coordinate their strategy, messaging, and outreach efforts.
What other ways are there to improve the communication between the city administration and OPD?