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Community Policing - Oakland Residents Want Mayor Ron Dellums To Bring It Back

Residents advised to join forces
Mayor urged to focus on community policing, respond to violence on block-by-block basis
By Heather MacDonald , STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 02/19/2007 02:43:25 AM PST

OAKLAND — Mayor Ron Dellums should make the implementation of viable community policing his highest public safety priority, according to two of the task forces formed by the mayor to set his administration's agenda.
Released two months after the task forces finished the first phase of their work, the 30 recommendations urge the mayor to reach out to the community in an effort to stem the violence that claimed 148 lives last year and has shown no sign of lessening this year.
The community policing task force urged Dellums to lead an effort to organize the city block by block as part of a "proactive partnership between residents, businesses and policeto improve and maintain quality of life in Oakland," where every officer regardless of assignment is a community police officer.
Karen Stevenson, the mayor's spokeswoman, said Dellums is still reviewing the recommendations, which were sent this week to police Chief Wayne Tucker, other city officials and community groups.
In the coming days, the conveners of the public safety task forces will brief Tucker and key police commanders, Stevenson said.
In all, 800 Oaklanders served on 41 task forces from September to December considering a variety of issues facing the city, including the need for affordable housing and a more transparent and open city government.
Only the recommendations from the public safety and civic participation task forces have been released, despite repeated requests from

the Oakland Tribune and other media organizations.
Most participants said they were energized by their work on the task forces and spurred to become more active politically in an effort to help Dellums transform Oakland into a model city.
Jeff Baker, the convener of the community policing task force, said his group's work was very focused throughout the long, involved discussions.
"It proved that public participation can work," said Baker, who works for Oakland on a contract basis as a hearing officer.
The task force also urged the mayor to appoint a public safety director to coordinate the multiple agencies and departments involved in community policing.
The group also urged the mayor to call a series of meetings with teens and young adults, including those active in gangs, to develop solutions to the violence, perhaps culminating in a "million youth march."
Another group, the police issues task force, urged the mayor to retain Tucker, saying he had done an admirable job as Oakland's top cop, especially in his efforts to reform the department after the "Riders" police misconduct scandal.
The task force also recommended that federal court oversight of the department be extended for two years to ensure that the reforms have truly taken root. U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson has said he is likely to order such an extension.
One of the group's recommendations already has borne fruit. The Peralta Community College District agreed to implement the task force suggestion of a community policing internship as part of its criminal justice curriculum and pre-academy.
Geoff Collins said he was surprised to be invited to join the task force, especially because he was a vocal supporter of Ignacio De La Fuente in last June's mayoral election.
But the group's members all realized it was a great opportunity to put aside their political differences and work together on an issue of great importance, Collins said.
"We had some knock-down, drag-out fights," Collins said. "But it worked. It really worked."
In the group's most wide-ranging recommendation, the police issues task force urged the mayor to give the Citizens Police Review Board sole responsibility for taking misconduct complaints against Oakland police officers.
Currently, complaints can be made to both the review board and the police department's Internal Affairs Division.
Rashidah Grinage, a task force member, said that system creates confusion, pointing to a survey last year that found only one in 10 Oaklanders who had a negative interaction with the police filed a complaint.
Each complaint would be forwarded to Internal Affairs, and investigated on the basis of the case's particulars, according to the recommendation.
In addition, the group said civilian oversight of the department would be more objective and allow many of the investigators now assigned to Internal Affairs to be redeployed.
"People need to have confidence in the complaint process," Grinage said.
The task force on the reintegration of incarcerated individuals urged Dellums to no longer require prospective city employees to disclose on the standard employment application whether they have been convicted of a felony.
That will encourage ex-convicts to apply for good-paying jobs and avoid shuffling from one job to another, according to the recommendation.
The youth violence task force urged Dellums to work with businesses and nonprofits to create 500 jobs in the next several months, and 5,000 in the coming year.
The task force also called for healing centers to be opened throughout the city to provide grief counseling and restorative justice programs.
The Measure Y and violence prevention task force urged Dellums to expand hours at the city's Park and Recreation centers until 8 p.m. during the week and until 10 p.m. on the weekends to give youth an alternative to gang activity.
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