The Oakland Police Department is less independent than it was at the start of the week, as City leaders agreed to cede much of the power over the police department to a Federal Director of Compliance. That individual will have the power to fire the police chief, discipline and demote command staff, and order limited expenditures.
The deal, which kept the City out of a federal receivership, keeps the current command structure in place, despite complaints about the speed at which reforms have been realized. However, the new powers that can be wielded by the federal agent inside of the department represent a tectonic shift in authority at the beleaguered police agency.
The deal has not yet been finalized, as a federal judge must first approve the new structure. There is a chance that the judge can say that the new plan does not go far enough, and appoint a full receiver.
The limitations placed on the Compliance Officer were designed, according to the City, to ensure that the federal interests work with the City, and vice versa. A federal receiver would have virtually unchecked power and the authority to unilaterally spend money. Instead, the compliance officer can only order expenses of up to $250,000.
The goal of the new arrangement is to bring the Police Department into compliance with federal reforms by 2013.
Read the full story at the Oakland Tribune.