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by Peter Moskos

June 17, 2014

Thomas Frazier directs the Oakland Police Department to comply

I was just spell checking Thomas Frazier's last name for something I'm writing and learned, though the wonders of google, that Frazier is now running the Oakland Police Department. And he's running it in a way I've never heard of:
The former Baltimore police commissioner, who rose up the ranks in San Jose, is accountable only to the federal judge who last week appointed him to ram through reforms that Oakland police were supposed to have completed five years ago.

Despite the modest title of compliance director, Frazier, 68, will have authority to overrule top commanders, spend city funds and even oust Chief Howard Jordan and demote his deputies if he determines they are obstacles to the decade-old reform drive.

Frazier is the guy who originally approved my Baltimore research, though he was gone before I got there. He and Kurt Schmoke were universally disliked by the time I got to Baltimore in late 1999. Among the rank-and-file, Frazier was never able to live down his line about police being "social workers with guns."
"He won't be intimidated by any outcry from the rank-and-file or the public," said Gary McLhinney, the former head of Baltimore's police union and a staunch Frazier critic. "When he gets an idea in his head, he'll run with it. He doesn't care if it's popular."
"Academics loved Tom; rank-and-file cops despised him" McLhinney said. "Tom was into the community policing model really to the extreme. He wasn't really interested in locking up bad guys. That wasn't his focus."
Between 1995 and 2000, murders in Baltimore dropped from 325 to 261.

There's some irony that Frazier is now trying to clean up the mess in Oakland that Anthony Batts, now the Baltimore police commissioner, couldn't fix.


Anonymous said...

Can he tase officers for non-compliance, or does the officer need to be actively resisting?

PCM said...