OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb is the co-author of the voter-approved measure LL, establishing an independent police commission with the power to fire a police chief.
Now that the commission has taken its first police chief, Anne Kirkpatrick, off of the board.
“What the commission does is a combination of the structure of the commission and who the individual commissioners are,” Kalb said.
While the councilmember still supports establishing the police commission, he said there is room for improvement.
“It’s a new commission. It’s only been around for a couple of years. They have only been in effect for over two years,” Kalb said. “Some of the commissioners took a while to get their feet on the ground and understand how things work and that is still going on.”
A police commission meeting video appears to show both sides trying to understand how things work in this new reality.
“Of course I am not accustomed to working with a commission,” Kirkpatrick says in the video. “I am trying to be mindful, hey, have we called the commissioner?”
“We can work with you. We are open and willing at whatever you say but we’ve never been invited,” Oakland Police Commissioner Ginale Harris said. “We’ve never been respected.”
More indications of problems are detailed in this joint case management statement updating OPD’s compliance status in the 2003 negotiated settlement agreement.
“The working relationship between the Oakland Police Department, the city administrator’s office, the city attorney’s office, and the police commission has been difficult at best, and overtly hostile at other times.”Plaintiffs’ Statement
“I knew there were a couple of commissioners who had some disagreements and who were disappointed in the chief over the past few months or more, I know that was there,” Kalb said. “I did not realize that the entire commission felt so upset that they felt the chief could no longer do this job.”
Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan is behind a new measure to give the police commission even more power, removing the mayor’s role of making appointments on the commission.
Kalb said he wouldn’t go that far.
“If anybody, anybody wants to remove the mayoral appointments I absolutely oppose that,” he said. “I oppose it because we have to have that shared responsibility and those checks and balances.”
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