"We've Let The Dogs Out!"
OPD's Loose-the-police-dogs, shout-warnings-by-helicopter policy leaves residents puzzled, sometimes-uninformed, and possibly in danger
August 26, 2015

Who Do We Blame For Oakland's Garbage Service?
Residents are criticizing City Council rather than Waste Mangement, but that ignores the history of how the new garbage contract came to be
July 26, 2015

A Sermon On The Kaiser
Why Putting A Hotel On The Kaiser Center Grounds Is A Bad Idea, And Other Thoughts
July 6, 2015

Cutting Up The Kaiser Arena For Offices?
Online Petition Makes That Charge Against The Proposed Kaiser Convention Center Developer, But Developer Says That Idea Has Already Been Discarded
June 30, 2015

Shot For Sleeping?
Examining The Popular Slogan In The Wake Of The Shooting Death Of Demouria Hogg
June 16, 2015

Did The Mayor Actually Err?
Examining Mayor Libby Schaaf's Crackdown On Nighttime Protests In Oakland
June 4, 2015

Following Richmond's Lead, For A Change
Oakland's Decision To Renovate And Reopen The Kaiser Convention Center Is Strikingly Familiar To A Successful Development In Our Neighbor To The North
May 25, 2015

The Marcus Foster Mailbox Removal, Belatedly Explained
The U.S. Postal Service Says Break-Ins Forced It To Remove The Two Outdoor Mail Drop-Boxes At The East Oakland Branch, But Questions Remain
May 14, 2015

A Street Mural "Overlooked"
PG&E Puts Up Murals On Its Switching Stations In Some Of The Nicer Parts Of Oakland, While Ignoring Its Station In The Elmhurst District Of The Deep East
April 29, 2015

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back—The Continuing Problems At Marcus Foster Post Office
The Postal Service Corrects Some Of The Difficulties For A Moment, And Then Immediately Uncorrects Them
April 26, 2015

The Overlooked Death Of Rayjon Simmons
Some Black Lives Seem To Matter More Than Others, At Least To Some
April 22, 2015

Cutbacks At The Marcus Foster P.O. Branch Confirmed
Services Have Been Farmed Out To The Regional Post Office Centers
April 8, 2015

The 'Hood Tax, An Example
The Marcus Foster Post Office In Deep East Oakland Now Closes "For Lunch" In The Early Afternoon
April 2, 2015

An Interrupted Dialogue Resumes
Last Weekend's State Of Black Oakland (SOBO) Assembly Is A Linear Descendant Of The Black Conferences Of The 1960's And '70's
March 31, 2015

The Sudden Resignation Of AC Transit's General Manager
Questions Raised After Three-Year GM David Armijo Quits Ahead Of A Possible Board Firing
March 27, 2015

Did I Overlook The Mayor In My Anti-Graffiti Ordinance Column?
The Quick Answer Is "No." The Issue Needs To Go Before City Council First
March 25, 2015

"This Happens Way Too Regularly"
The Tagging Of The Oakland Main Library Begins A Discussion On The Fact That Oakland's Anti-Graffiti Law Has Failed
March 18, 2015

Concerning Political Hit Pieces
The East Bay Express' Recent Series Against Oakland City Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney Qualifies As Unfair Journalism, At The Least
January 5, 2015

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"We've Let The Dogs Out"

August 26, 2015

If you live in or visit Oakland neighborhoods like the Elmhurst District—what folks refer to as “Deep East Oakland”—you’re used to police helicopters hovering in the general airspace above you for periods of time. Mostly they appear during police chases, swinging around in wide circles, searching the ground below for suspects. It’s become such a common flatlands occurrence that—like triggered car alarms—you hardly notice them any more.

I’m not certain exactly when they began, but his summer I’ve begun noticing that OPD’s helicopter corps have added a new “service” that has certainly gotten our attention. I don’t know the official name, but you can call them “Public Beware Notices From The Air.” Instead of simply silently circling, observing, and communicating to officers involved in the chase, where, now, under certain circumstances, the helicopter police have begun blaring out warning announcements to the public below through some sort of loudspeaker or bullhorn system.

As far as I can guess, the warning/announcements are repeated over and over, and go something like: “Stay in your house!” “We’ve set police dogs loose!” “Stand still if you see them! Do not run from the dogs or they will bite you!”

Anyway, there are certainly more disturbing things that could be shouted at you from out of the sky on a summer afternoon, but I can’t think of many more disconcerting than “Watch out! We’ve let the dogs out!”, since there is an implicit message that regular residents, not just the suspects, are in danger of a dog attack. [To Complete Column]