City administrator talks goals for Oakland Police Department

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With the ever widening Oakland police scandals, a low profile but powerful city bureaucrat has become a central figure in the effort to reform the department. She laid out her goals for OPD in a sit-down interview with ABC7 News. (KGO-TV)

With the ever widening Oakland police scandals, a low profile but powerful city bureaucrat has become a central figure in the effort to reform the department. City Administrator Sabrina Landreth laid out her goals for OPD in a sit-down interview with ABC7 News. The department has had four leaders within two weeks.

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The only person Landreth reports to is Mayor Libby Schaff.

"For me, as the highest ranking administrative officer in the city, the buck stops with me," she said.

Every department head reports to Landreth, including the police chief.

"We're talking about a very small number of our officers in an agency with, you know, almost 800 sworn police officers," she said.

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That's a small number under investigation for a seemingly widening sex scandal, racist text messages, and other inappropriate behavior.

The scandals have rocked the department, that's gone through four department heads in nine days. The latest is now Acting Assistant Chief David Downing.

Landreth declined to address those rapid changes, saying she can't discuss personnel matters.

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"But I will tell you that these were decisions that we again own and were in the best interest of the long-term health of this institution," she said.

Landreth says she's hired a private investigator to find out who is leaking information about the probes. She says it was not to suppress whistleblowers or to stop transparency, but to protect the integrity of the investigations.

"The leaking of some of this confidential information, it has already compromised our ability to do so," she said.

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Landreth says she has ordered an internal audit of the police department.

"To look at, you know, our early warning systems and or background checks with some of these new recruits, to look at our training," she said. "We need to look at the overall culture of what's happening that allowed these events to occur."

Additionally, she wants the permanent police chief to be an outsider.

"Right now, we don't have a deep bench," she said. "It is someone who can come in with some fresh eyes."
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