The New, More Powerful Wave of Civilian Oversight of Police


From “In Oakland, Calif., police will soon answer to civilians newly entrusted with the power to discipline officers and fire the chief. Last November, the city’s residents voted to create a civilian-run commission with a level of authority over law enforcement that is rare in this country.

“This was a no-brainer given Oakland’s history,” says Rashidah Grinage, coordinator of the Coalition for Police Accountability, a group that helped write the ballot measure, which faced no formal opposition and passed with 83 percent of the vote. “Most people realized that it would be futile to try to argue against instituting a police commission of this nature.””

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