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Oakland Quickly Retracts New Police Policy On Illegal Living Spaces, Parties

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – Oakland city officials on Thursday night retracted a just instituted "see and report" policy for Oakland police officers regarding illegal parties and living spaces.

Earlier Thursday, KPIX 5 learned that police in Oakland had been ordered to immediately report if they see an illegal party or notice any unpermitted living spaces in warehouses in the wake of last year's deadly Ghost Ship fire.

KPIX 5 obtained a copy of a directive that Acting Police Chief David Downing sent officers Thursday afternoon.

OPD warehouse space policy
OPD warehouse space policy memo (CBS)

It said officers must send an email message before the end of their shift to command staff, documenting the time they saw it, the address and what exactly they saw.

The retraction was issued a couple of hours later by City Administrator Sabrina Landreth.

"We are in the process of developing communication protocols within the Oakland Police Department," the statement read. "The email sent at 1:57 p.m. to OPD personnel was distributed prematurely and has been retracted."

Two weeks ago, the city made public documents about the Ghost Ship warehouse that noted police were aware of illegal housing and parties years before last December's inferno that killed 36 people.

Police officers never reported any code violations.

Thursday's directive also comes two days after the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Mayor Libby Schaaf's spokesperson saying police officers are not trained to be building inspectors.

The Chronicle pointed out that San Jose, San Francisco and Richmond already have systems in place requiring police officers to notify authorities if they see dangerous conditions.

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