City Council Closes Internal Affairs to the Public
On Thursday, June 30, the Oakland City Council decided to close Internal Affairs to residents' complaints against police, and consolidate the intake of those complaints at the Citizens' Police Review Board (CPRB) in fiscal year 2012-2013.
This is a decisive victory for PUEBLO as it marks the culmination of a five year campaign that emanated from its 2005 Survey of Oakland Residents' Experiences with Police and the Filing of Complaints. That study showed that 54% of Oakland residents didn't know that Oakland had a civilian oversight agency, and that only 1 in 10 residents who were dissatisfied with their encounter with Oakland police had filed a complaint.
PUEBLO began working with the former police chief and his command staff, with the City Attorney's Office, the City Administrator and others to forge a plan to close Internal Affairs to the public, and re-direct complaints about police to the Citizens' Police Review Board.
In 2009, the City Council voted to adopt this proposal in principle but couldn't identify a funding source. However, with a new Mayor, additional scrutiny on the Oakland Police Department and a fiscal crisis that calls for sworn officers to contribute to public safety rather than do administrative work, it seems the time has come to implement this plan.
Since January, PUEBLO has been joined in this effort by a diverse coalition of organizations in Oakland, including the ACLU, the Oakland Black Caucus, the American Friends Service Committee, OCO, the Oscar Grant Foundation and many others, who joined in the effort to see this plan adopted in the new budget.
PUEBLO hopes to keep this coalition and momentum alive and forge new breakthroughs in achieving a more robust system of police accountability in Oakland.