.Best Police Watchdog

Anthony Finnell

Finnell was a police officer in Indianapolis, Indiana for 23 years before retiring last year. He served a brief stint in Chicago investigating allegations of police misconduct before applying to lead Oakland’s Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB). He moved here earlier this year to take over the role of executive director, and longtime local police watchdogs and city officials have since praised Finnell for his leadership. Oakland’s CPRB was without an executive director for years, rudderless and underfunded. Hopes are high that Finnell can build the CPRB into a meaningful oversight board and work with OPD to improve the department’s relationship with the city’s diverse communities — while holding bad cops accountable. “I worked with great officers, and I also worked with some who were actually criminals,” Finnell told the Express earlier this year. “I have a good idea of why police do what they do, how officers can get sidetracked and forget the oath they took. They’re human.” Finnell has a bigger budget to work with than that of his predecessors, and a growing staff, as well as a commitment from the city council to make his department the central location to take complaints against Oakland police.

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