Oakland literally to have the inmates running the asylum

I've written on how police are withdrawing, not going out and seeking crime, but pulling back.  They are waiting until called, handing their calls for service, and playing it safe.  If you want reasons why, look at the railroading of officers doing their jobs, such as Darren Wilson, or the politically motivated persecution of the Baltimore Six.

Not to be outdone, here comes Oakland, California.

In November 2016, the citizens (also sometimes considered community members) of Oakland voted to establish a civilian police commission.  From the ballot:

... a Police Commission of civilian commissioners to oversee the Police Department by reviewing and proposing changes to Department policies and procedures, requiring the Mayor to appoint any new Chief of Police from a list of candidates provided by the Commission, and having the authority to terminate the Chief of Police for cause; and (2) a Community Police Review Agency to investigate complaints of police misconduct and recommend discipline[.]

Yes, a board of civilian overseers of the department.  Not that they didn't have that already, called the mayor, city council, etc.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a joke.  It's not joke.  Here is the flyer for applicants to the police commission.

Notice: "Formerly incarcerated individuals encouraged to apply."  Yes, the city is asking former suspects, arrestees, convicts, parolees (that is, community members) to apply for one of nine slots to supervise the Oakland Police Department.  They will have the power to:

Issue subpoenas and take sworn testimony.

Propose changes to department policies and procedures, and approve any changes recommended by the chief of police.

Authority to fire the chief of police and recommend up to four candidates to the mayor.

Not to be outdone, the new police commission has authority over the already established Citizen's Police Review Board.  While the CPRB has the authority to recommend discipline of officers, the new police commission can fire the director of the CPRB and recommend his (perhaps I should not presume gender here – I am talking California) replacement to the mayor.  Also, the commission will "[s]erve as Discipline Committee to review proposed discipline of police officers when CPRB and the Chief of Police do not agree."

In summary, the voters of the City of Oakland approved another group of civilians to oversee the police department.  They are openly encouraging criminals to fill this board, and you can bet that some will be selected.  This group will have the power to subpoena officers, take sworn testimony, fire the chief of police and the head of the other oversight board, inflict policy changes on the department, and approve any should the chief of police want to.  What could possibly go wrong?

California used to be where you went to make your fortune; it was the epitome of the American Dream.  Now it's the American Nightmare.

Thinking of the old saying, "if you want to see America in 20 years, look at California today."  God help us all.

Michael A. Thiac is a police patrol sergeant and a retired Army intelligence officer.  When not patrolling the streets, he can be found on A Cop's Watch.