The public outrage about the mismanagement and misconduct of the Oakland Police Department is getting louder as a judge considers initiating an unprecedented federal takeover of the department. Today the East Bay Express's Robert Gammon chimes in saying, unequivocally, that the OPD "is the most dysfunctional police agency in California, and it may be the most dysfunctional governmental agency of any kind in the state."
He goes on to mention those photos of Mayor Jean Quan and the judge in question, Thelton Henderson, which were defaced in a racist manner and hung on a bulletin board at department headquarters. And he adds that the department faced some national bad press last week when their recently purchased, $18 million radio system went dead during President Obama's visit something that's been happening often as the new system has failed to work properly, and has multiple dead zones across the city. Then there's the issue of another $2 million spent on other technology"that either doesn't work or doesn't work well" and that was purchased "from fly-by-night companies that have since gone out of business."
An East Bay Express cartoonist has even created this little cartoon that depicts two OPD officers in KKK hoods discussing the federal takeover.
The threat of federal receivership for the department, which would be without precedent nationwide, has loomed for ten years, after a federal court insisted that they institute a number of a reforms and tasked a federal monitor to report back regularly on the department's progress. That monitor, Robert Warshaw, a retired police chief from upstate New York, issued a scathing quarterly report last month that included details about the defaced photos, which a department employee filed a complaint over and was subsequently retaliated against and locked out of the building.
Now the EBX is saying, "The dysfunction within OPD is so pervasive, so ingrained, that it might take the shock and embarrassment of a federal takeover to finally turn the department around."