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In 2012 after years of threatening federal oversight of the Oakland Police Department for non-compliance in the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, Judge Thelton Henderson announced the creation of a position called "Compliance Director."
On November 9th, 2012, the City issued a press release opposing federal receivership and agreeing with alternative proposals.
On November 14th, 2012, Judge Henderson ordered the parties to meet to negotiate a settlement agreement due to non-compliance in the Negotiated Settlement Agreement. [document??]
On November 16th, 2012, Judge Nathanael Cousin, a magistrate judge, became involved at the request of the city to help negotiate a deal.
In late November the city and the attorneys Jim Chanin and John Burris met 3 times to try and negotiate a deal. A compromise was reached creating a position that would have many of the powers of a federal receiver without the name: the Compliance Director can fire Chief Jordan and reports only to Judge Henderson. According to Burris, the Director is receivership under another name, while Mayor Quan, City Administrator Deanna Santana, Jordan stood up for the deal saying that the community really likes the department and that this was a great alternative to receivership because the department would still be involved. According to Judge Henderson, the compliance director would need to understand the lines of authority and work collaboratively with the city. "But I would expect the compliance director to work cooperatively with the mayor, the city administrator, with the police chief. One of the qualities I said I’m looking for is someone who can do that. Someone who can say, “We’re all in this together. Let me lead you or let us join ranks and go shoulder to shoulder to lead this city and the police department out of this mess.”."5
Crucially, the city agreed to pay for the compliance director.
After this meeting, the City and the attorneys were given until December 21st to nominate potential Compliance Directors for Judge Henderson's approval. The Judge extended the date until January 11th. Under the agreement, neither party had to make their nominations public and various names were tossed around including Robert Bobb, former Oakland City Manager (now called City Administrator). Mostly, however, people assumed that the compliance director would be someone in, or formerly in, law enforcement.
The cities and attorneys did not agree on the nominations and the names were not officially released.
On March 1st, Judge Henderson announced that he had hired a Compliance Director but did not release the person's name, citing an inability to get salary information from the city of Oakland. (See Court Order.) He demanded that the City give "the City Attorney shall file current salary information, including base salaries and any other monetary compensation, for the Chief of Police and City Administrator. The filed information shall include any projected increases or decreases over the next three years" by March 4th, 2013. The city claimed that the Judge had previously asked verbally for these figures but had never put the request in writing. It was publicly suggested that this was another excuse to criticize the city as these figures are publicly available (many salary figures are available on this wiki and on news sources). The following figures were released by the city: Santana makes $282,000, including a $9,000 auto allowance, and Jordan makes $257,973, which includes additional payments for longevity, extra course work and a uniform allowance.
At this time the Judge stated that the after the start date, the director would have 30 days to submit a plan for completion of reforms and would then have to issue monthly status reports starting on May 15th.
On March 4, 2013 Thomas Frazier was appointed the first Compliance Director of the Oakland Police Department with a salary of $270,000 by Judge Henderson. (see order.) Quan, Santana and Jordan praised the choice. A discussion on twitter ensued about how lucrative the original Frazier Report had turned out to be for Frazier, and how costly for the city.
On March 11, 2013, Frazier started work in Oakland. He announced on March 15th that he would not work at the Police Administration Building but did not announce where he would be working. Eventually it was announced that he would be working at 1970 Broadway. He said he would hire his own staff. Most likely, his rent and staff would be paid by the city. It is not clear if or where he was working between March 11 and March 15th.
The city had until March 24th, 2013 to reach agreement on a contract with Frazier. They did not reach agreement, as Frazier asked for benefits that were above what Oakland pays for the majority of part-time employees. The city has agreed that Frazier will receive approximately $8,000 in medical coverage and $10,000 for executive leave that can be converted to cash. Frazier is asking for retirement benefits that the city is unwilling to pay: an additional 25 percent on top of salaries for nonpublic safety employees to fund their pensions which would come out ton an additional $67,500. The city believes it would be more appropriate rate to calculate retirement benefits according to the part-time rate: 3.75 percent that would amount to an additional $10,125 per year. According to the Oakland Tribune, "Frazier also requested $15,576 for 15 days of vacation and $6,260 per year of sick leave, half of which he could cash out, according to the city's filing. The city holds that Frazier's position already comes with unlimited vacation and sick leave and that city employees can't begin cashing out sick days until they have accrued 450 hours of sick time."10
On March 27, 2013, Ronald Yank, Frazier's attorney said he would ask the judge to pay for the weekend days he had put in trying to resolve this conflict.
On June 27th, 2013, Judge Thelton Henderson warned the city again to defer to the Compliance Director. He said that city officials have been excluding Frazier from meetings and have not okay'd his hiring of experts. Henderson ordered the city to deposit $50,000 to begin paying for the experts and said that if they don't start working with Frazier, Henderson will appoint a lawyer for Frazier and Oakland will have to pick up the bill.14
TOPICAL AREA #1: While the vast majority of OPD Officers are dedicated, hardworking men and women doing an extraordinarily difficult job, a few behave in manners that resultin citizen complaints and administrative investigations.
TOPICAL AREA #2: Supervisors fail to enforce Departmental policy by not intervening in or reporting unacceptable behavior that they are either informed of or witness.
TOPICAL AREA #3: Investigations fail to thoroughly and impartially seek the truth in reported allegations of officer misconduct.
TOPICAL AREA #4: Executive leadership has permitted members of the organization to believe that the behaviors articulated in Topical Areas # 2 and #3 are both tolerated and acceptable.
TOPICAL AREA #5: Executive leadership fails to act proactively on issues/processes within their ability to implement that, cumulatively, would have major impact on Departmental effectiveness.
The tentative budget based on the action items in the 1st report comes out to over $1.72 million dollars.12
According to an article in SFGate dated May 19, 2013, the total budget is already over $2 million dollars, which will be paid entirely by Oakland. This budget includes:
- $270,000-plus-a-year salary ($13,000 more than Chief Jordan made) + benefits
- A 3 member support team at $110 to $200 an hour apiece. This bill could reach $385,000.
- $500,000 for police radios and a computer
- $200,000 for a techie to work on the radios and other equipment
- $100,000 for a fingerprint reader
- $250,000 for leadership training programs
- $400,000 for monitors to collect data on officers' use of force and racial profiling13
On July 1st, Frazier released his first monthly report. 2013-07-01 monthly report.pdf His opening page states that "As this report will clearly show, the pace of activity has been fast, and many noteworthy events have occurred in this relatively short period of time. There has been progress towards compliance with both Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) Tasks, and non-NSA action items as identified in the Remedial Action Plan, and as prioritized in the Benchmarks Plan.
We have established positive momentum, in cooperation with the Independent Monitor and with the new leadership in OPD. The challenge before us now is sustaining this positive progress, resolving areas of disagreement with City officials, and achieving the goals we have worked together to construct."
Frazier, while praising the Police Department, criticized the city. "For most of this reporting period I have been frustrated by City officials’ lack of cooperation, unnecessary restrictions, and control issues which have delayed progress. These roadblocks are not coming from the police department but rather directly from City Hall." The two issues he highlighted were failure to implement contracts and exclusion from meetings.
The second monthly report is available here. Frazier notes that his comments about the issues between city staff and his office seem to have helped because there were no more incidents. The opening remarks to his report say that the department continues to improve, with the exception of the "disappointing performance in preventing the vandalism" during the protests following the Zimmerman verdict.
The report lists a number of things listed under "positive events" including approving the concept and contractor for video forensics, approving an RFP for a performance auditor, which is pending review, approval of a new internal affairs policy, approval of a new double-blind photo line up policy, approval of a "less lethal" policy, approval of a proposal on radios to be presented to City Council, cohosting a meeting with the OPOA on the radio situation, approval of some things related to DNA processing, holding a meeting relating to background checks for new officers, worked on meet-and-confers with the OPOA for expedited promotion of new sergeants and retaining a psychologist for the commanders transitioning into new roles. There will be a one day retreat with additional sessions afterwards.
The report lists a bunch of benchmarks met and missed, along with who is responsible. Of 16 benchmarks, 13 were completed (81%). For the 3 that are pending, the dates are reset for August.
Frazier ends his report by saying that the benchmarks will be realigned to recognize the failure of intelligence that led to the protests being so destructive.
The Third Monthly Report is available here. Frazier writes that "satisfactory progress" has been made on important projects. The work was focused on revising departmental policies, which proved difficult and complex, but ultimately successful. Because the work went well, achieving the benchmarks was moved to later months. Frazier also writes about staffing levels. He notes that it is a "universally accepted goal" to increase the number of sworn officers and that the City has used more police academies as the way to achieve this goal. However, attrition numbers will outpace the graduation rates, which also means that new officers will replace experienced officers. Frazier suggests a "more balanced program that includes enhanced recruiting, efforts to slow attrition, and increased efforts to recruit lateral transfers to OPD from other law enforcement agencies."
Frazier lists the following "Significant Events" in August:
- The Compliance Director and the City Administrator met to discuss filling the vacant civilian positions.
- The Compliance Director's staff chaired a meeting with the department to discuss problems with the crime lab’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).
- The Compliance Director's staff met with OPD, the Monitors and Sierra Systems about PAS.
- The Compliance Director's staff met with an expert about the OPD radios as well as a meeting with a meeting about an alternative radio system.
- The Compliance Director's staff attended/evaluated four Use of Force boards, assessed them and shared the concerns and suggestions with Chief Whent.
- The Compliance Director attended and evaluated two meetings with police officer trainees and the Chief or his staff. Assessments were given to the Chief.
- The Compliance Director and staff held a retreat for the OPD leadership team.
- The Compliance Director and staff met with the Chief and senior staff to discuss obstacles to hiring and promotion.
- The Compliance Director and staff reviewed RFP for an NSA internal audit and gave feedback to OPD.
- The Compliance Director’s staff reviewed and approved the DNA Analysis Contract.
- The Compliance Director and staff facilitated a meet-and-confer with the OPD and the OPOA as well as the NSA plaintiffs' attorneys, OPD and the City and came to agreement on a draft revision of the Crowd Control Policy.
- The Compliance Director and staff worked OPD and the City on revisions, considerations and updates for many general orders.
The department complied with only 2 of the 11 benchmarks and have pending dates for 9 more in September. Frazier writes that he believes these dates will be met.
Frazier concludes by saying that in the six months of being onsite, "this office has identified a substantial number of Department deficiencies. These deficiencies impact OPD’s operational capacities and the ability of the City and the police department to achieve sustained NSA compliance. They also impede the adoption and implementation of current preferred policing practices. These deficiencies and inadequacies serve as barriers to delivering effective public safety services, addressing violent crime, and sustaining compliance as required by the Court’s order."
His priorities are creating better programs to make delivering city services possible. He thinks that current command staff is trying hard and that the City continues to cooperate. He calls the progress "satisfactory."
The fourth monthly report is available here.
In the introduction of the report, Frazier writes that he decided not to move the new civilian Internal Affairs intake positions because it might affect staffing:
"Preserving the fairness and objectivity of OPD’s internal disciplinary processes is important to OPD’s future. The citizens of Oakland, as well as the working men and women of OPD, both must be confident that the system is effective. If confidence in this system is lost, officer retention, recruiting, and attracting lateral transfer officers from other law enforcement agencies could be damaged."
This may be the first time that he has explained his decision that overrode a previous City Council decision to put the intake positions outside of OPD.
Frazier writes about two recent officer suicides and "expeditious" action taken by his department and command staff to assist OPD. He calls the success this month acceptable.
The fifth monthly report is available here.
The sixth Monthly report is available here.
On February 12, 2014, Matthew Artz of the Oakland Tribune reported via twitter that Judge Thelton Henderson had fired Frazier and that monitor Robert Warshaw would be taking over duties. Frazier had not published a required monthly report since December, 2013. The order, dated February 12, can be accessed here. Essentially Helton writes that having both a federal monitor AND a compliance director has been "unnecessarily duplicative" and there will now only be a monitor, Warshaw. Frazier's appointment will end March 10, 2014 and all powers turn over to Warshaw effective immediately. Beginning April 15, 2014, Warshaw must turn in bimonthly reports which will not replace the quarterly monitor's reports. The contract is to be renegotiated including whether Warshaw must spend more time in Oakland (it doesn't seem he spends much time there now), and if his salary must be raised, not to exceed $150,000 more.
Here is what Jean Quan's newsletter said about the change:
This week Judge Thelton Henderson ordered that Federal Monitor Bob Warshaw assume the compliance director's duties in addition to his long- standing quarterly monitoring reports. This means he will be here more frequently and will be working more directly with the department in addition to conducting the quarterly reports that sometimes reflect data over 6 months old. For the City, this reduces the cost of monitoring significantly and may lead to a quicker resolution of the remaining issues which have been reduced from 22 to 6 or 7 remaining tasks since I became Mayor.
I have spent much time talking with all involved this week. Both Frazier and Warshaw feel that the Department has made important improvements in the last months. Both the Chief and I hope that the remaining tasks focused on the use of force and racial profiling monitoring can be resolved this year.
- Artz, Matthew. "No agreement on Oakland police compliance director." Oakland Tribune: Jan 11, 2013.
- Masunaga, Samantha. "Settlement reached in Oakland Police takeover dispute, calls for new “compliance director”." Oakland North: Dec 6, 2012.
- Matier, Phillip and Andrew Ross. "Will Robert Bobb come back to Oakland?." SFGate.com: Dec 16, 2012.
- November 9th Press Release: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca1/groups/ceda/documents/pressrelease/oak038517.pdf
- Zaveri, Mihir. "Q&A with Federal Judge Thelton Henderson about the Oakland police case, his career." Oakland North: Jan 28, 2013.
- Hyatt, Abraham. "Judge hires Oakland Police Department compliance director -- but who is it?." Oakland Local: Mar 1, 2013.
- Artz, Matthew. "Oakland: Judge picks police overseer but won't divulge name." Oakland Tribune: Mar 1, 2013.
- "Oakland police compliance director begins work today." ABC Local: Mar 11, 2013.
- Artz, Matthew. "Oakland: New OPD compliance director to work out of sight from police." Oakland Tribune: Mar 15, 2013.
- Artz, Matthew. "Oakland in dispute with police leader over benefits." Oakland Tribune: Mar 26, 2013.
- Artz, Matthew. "Oakland: Lawyers tussle over benefits for OPD leader." Oakland Tribune: Mar 27, 2013.
- Office of the Compliance Director. " OAKLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT REMEDIAL ACTION PLAN: FIRST REPORT." May 1, 2013.
- Matier, Phillip and Andrew Ross. "Oakland pays big for police compliance." SFGate.com: May 19, 2013.
- Artz, Matthew. "Judge warns Oakland not to obstruct police official." Oakland Tribune: June 27, 2013.