OAKLAND -- The city's police department is closer than ever to satisfying a decade-long reform mandate, the court-appointed official monitoring the reform effort wrote in his quarterly report released Friday.
The monitor, Robert Warshaw, found that Oakland police are in full compliance with 15 of the remaining 22 reform tasks and in partial compliance with the remaining seven tasks. Just nine months ago, the department was not in compliance with 11 tasks.
In a joint statement, Mayor Jean Quan, City Administrator Deanna Santana and Interim Chief Sean Whent said they were pleased by the progress and remained "dedicated to accelerating our compliance efforts."
The court-mandated reforms, agreed to in 2003, were designed to help the department better police itself, improve accountability and prevent a repeat of the Riders case, in which four officers were accused of beating up and framing drug suspects in West Oakland.
Instead, the stalled reform effort wound up costing Oakland substantial control over its police force. Last year, the city agreed to accept a separate court-appointed official with sweeping powers to push through reforms in order to avoid a full federal takeover of the department.
Warshaw, a former police chief in Rochester, N.Y., and Clinton administration deputy drug czar, noted the department's continued progress under its court-appointed compliance director, Thomas Frazier, but cautioned that "significant concerns remain."
He cited evidence that too many officers were still failing to activate their portable recording devices, which he said was especially important in a department "where there is a culture that officers do not report serious misconduct by fellow officers." Warshaw also wrote that the department is still not producing a biannual report analyzing data from police stops for evidence of racial profiling.