On Monday, The Frazier Group is expected to release its report on the Oakland Police Department’s response to last year’s Occupy protests and the many incidents of officer misconduct alleged by demonstrators. Next week, the city council will decide whether to expand the scope of that investigation. Also on Monday, the federal court-ordered monitor overseeing OPD is due to release its quarterly report, likely to focus on response to Occupy Oakland as well.
But Police Chief Howard Jordan and Mayor Jean Quan aren’t waiting to announce reforms. At a press conference Monday, Quan said the relationship between the community and police must change, and Jordan announced a series of reforms aimed at preventing large protests and weekly marches from spinning out of control.
“Even before we see the final results of the external reviews, we recognize there is room for improvement,” Jordan said. “We are committed to improving our training, tactics and policies in light of our experiences.”
But Jordan did not go into much detail, only saying that the department is working to improve coordination with mutual aid agencies. He said every officer will receive crowd management training by the end of the month and that smaller, more agile squads will be used to control crowds.
“Let’s just say we are looking at ways to better resolve those incidents without using lethal force. When I mention small-unit tactics, that is something we are considering…using smaller units to actually go into the crowd and remove people that are causing problems.”
But officers will still use tear gas and bean-bag bullets at times, Jordan said, and could crack down on un-permitted marches and building take-overs.