Judge Henderson Fires Oakland Police Overseer

Judge Thelton Henderson

Judge Thelton Henderson

Federal Judge Thelton Henderson has fired the compliance director who has been overseeing the Oakland Police Department, saying that police reform will be better served by giving the authority to institute changes to the same individual who he appointed to monitor progress.

Expressing frustration with the slow progress Oakland is making on its court mandated police reforms, Henderson said that the compliance director position, held by Thomas Frazier – a retired Baltimore police chief – has not been achieving results fast enough and not worth the $270,000 annual salary.

Frazier, who has been on the job for almost one year, clashed last year with Oakland residents when he overruled a City Council decision requiring that civilian workers hired to do intake of complaints against police should be housed outside of the police department rather than in the Internal Affairs Division.

In a statement released Wednesday, Henderson said, “The court finds that it would be more appropriate and effective to concentrate the powers of the compliance director and monitor into one position.

The present arrangement, he said, “has proven to be unnecessarily duplicative and has been less efficient and more expensive than the court contemplated.”

Henderson also continued to raise concerns about the slow pace of Oakland’s reform efforts. “The remedial phase of this case has extended far longer than originally anticipated and far longer than the court believes should have been necessary had the defendants consistently acted with diligence to implement the reforms they agreed to over 11 years ago,” he said.

Federal Monitor Robert Warshaw has been working at the Oakland Police Department since 2010 evaluating progress on the court-mandated Negotiated Settlement Agreement.

Warshaw served as “deputy drug czar,” associate director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, during Bill Clinton’s presidency. He served in the US Army. He started out in the Miami Police Department where he rose to the position of assistant chief. He was chief in Rochester, New York and Statesville, North Carolina.

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