Saturday, March 21, 2009
21 Mar 09
In an unprecedented death toll for California's Oakland Police Department, three officers were killed Saturday by a gunman: Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, left, Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, center, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35
The gunman was also killed Saturday, capping a day of violence that the Oakland Police Department said was the worst in its history. Never before had three police officers died in the line of duty on the same day.
The mayhem began that afternoon, when two motorcycle patrol officers stopped a 1995 Buick sedan in east Oakland, Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said. The driver opened fire, killing Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, and gravely wounding Officer John Hege, 41.
The gunman then fled on foot, police said, leading to an intense manhunt by dozens of Oakland police, California Highway Patrol officers and Alameda County sheriff deputies. Streets were roped off and an entire area of east Oakland closed to traffic.
About two hours later, officers got an anonymous tip that the gunman was inside a nearby apartment building.
A SWAT team had entered an apartment to clear and search it when the gunman shot them with an assault rifle, police said.
Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35, were killed and a third officer was grazed by a bullet, police said.
Mixon had an "extensive criminal history" and was wanted on a no-bail warrant.
"(Mixon) was on parole and he had a warrant out for his arrest for violating that parole. And he was on parole for assault with a deadly weapon," said Oakland police Deputy Chief Jeffery Israel.
Police said they did not know exactly why the officers initially stopped the suspect, but said it apparently was a routine traffic stop.
People lingered at the scene of the first shooting.
About 20 bystanders taunted police.
When he first arrived as Superintendent, Weis conducted town hall meetings and heard officer’s complaints and suggestions on how to improve morale and to find out what tools the officers need to help them do their job. Complaints were made about broken down vehicles and he told all of us he would get new vehicles out to the districts. Here we are over a year later and district officers are driving broken down pool vehicles.
Weis also promised to open up the merit selection for the promotion process, boldly stating that any officer can nominate himself and thereby eliminate the clout aspect of the process. That has not happened. Clout still rules. Officers complained to Weis about equipment and Weis made a number of promises about new weapons, including M4 rifles. To date, these weapons are under lock and key in police stations and our officers are not allowed to use them. Weis conducted a meeting at which he promised that the Lodge would be involved in any decisions made about the Field Training Program only weeks before the Department gutted the program and limited the Districts FTO’s could now work in.
Weis was repeatedly told at these town hall meetings and by the union at other meetings that there are not enough officers at the district level. His response? Further reduce manpower in district law enforcement. Officers come out of roll call in a broken down pool car and face a fifteen to twenty job backlog. The jobs are often two hours old and it takes four hours to catch up along with handling the new jobs that are received. When the officer catches up, it starts to get busy and before you know it the tour is over and there is a backlog for the next shift. How can you do any proactive police work? We need more officers in traditional district law enforcement.
Weis attended one contract negotiating meeting and assured the Lodge he would do all he could to help negotiate a fair contract in an expeditious manner, we have seen no positive results stemming from that meeting.
Weis did not fool anyone with his recent contempt of court stunt. He failed Police Officers once more, claiming he intended to protect police families, when all along, we believe he knew he would comply with the court’s order. Weis took advantage of the no risk situation and attempted to turn his image around. Every Policemen knew he would not violate the Judge’s order and the media saw it for what it was.
We are told that in great part, because of the actions of this Superintendent, morale is at an all time low and what really concerns us and should concern you is that our members, including our younger members are telling us that they are second guessing their actions. Doing so is potentially impacting their safety as well as the safety of the people in the communities. They are not exercising their discretion but instead are going by the book to lower the potential of criticism by the public and the department. These same young officers are not being pro-active in their duties, they are being re-active. Several months ago a ranking member of the Cook County Sheriff’s department wanted me to extend his thanks to our membership for taking care of the jail overcrowding problem and he was dead serious.
I think it is clear that for us to do the day to day job of policing, we need basic tools along with the support of our superintendent. We need a leader who has the respect of the rank and file and a working knowledge of the police department. The membership by their vote of no confidence, doesn’t believe the current Superintendent has neither and everyone suffers as a result.
Questions directed to Mark P. Donahue,
President of F.O.P. Chicago Lodge No.7
I'm so glad the FOP stood up for our concerns but now what. How do we change the clout promotions. Why should someone get "Clout" promoted over & over again like L.P. He was clout promoted to Det. then Sgt. then Lt. and is now a Capt. This is just one of the many people that get taking care of over & over again. My favorite is the Alderman promotions the pay to play CPD way . You give me money for my campaign or help sell tickets to my party and Ill get you a promoted.
I think that someone should only get merit once that's it.
The definition of merit: a. Superior quality or worth; excellence: a proposal of some merit
b. A quality deserving praise or approval; virtue: Demonstrated ability or achievement: promotions based on merit alone.
What do we do about Weis, yes no one has confidence in him but how do we get him out ?
How can we change the merit process or open up more units for bidding. We have all these units but we can't go to unless we have a phone call.
Does anyone have any other concerns ?