Frazier starts job overseeing Oakland police

Oakland police making arrests.
March 11, 2013 7:39:13 PM PDT
Thomas Frazier, the new police expert assigned to oversee court-ordered reforms in Oakland started his new job on Monday.

His arrival is being met with cautious optimism by those hoping to put an end to the bad blood between the police department and the community they serve.

"It's not safe for the kids," says barber, B Teezy.

He discusses everything at Lucky's Barber Shop. From the crime that plagues the neighborhood to the ways he tries to keep his family safe.

"It wasn't like that when I was coming up," he says.

Debates at the shop quickly shift to a problem facing him and many of the men he knows -- racial profiling.

"It seems like we can't just hang out and live life without being harassed," he says.

"We have had real issues," says attorney John Burris, who was one of the original attorneys to file suit against Oakland and its police department for charges of harassment and racial profiling.

The department agreed to court-ordered reforms 10 years ago. But last year after failing to meet many of those mandated reforms, a federal judge decided that a compliance director was needed to monitor further changes. That's when Frazier was hired.

"Fifty-five reforms met. That's our obligation. We think Thomas Frazier has the capacity to do that," says Burris.

Burris won't be the only one looking for results.

"Well, the balance is a work of progress in the city of Oakland," says the Rev. George Cummings.

In his role as a community organizer, Cummings wants to find a balance between safe streets and what he calls responsible policing.

"I think that there is a different kind of attitude, a willingness to listen to the community and to be working in partnership," he says.

At Lucky's, the solution appears to be very simple.

"I think we need more avenues and more arenas for us to get together and solve these problems," says B Teezy.

As compliance director, Frazier will earn an annual salary of $270,000 a year. He also holds the authority to fire or demote members of the police department, including the chief.


Load Comments