Oakland yanks rules aimed at averting another “Ghost Ship” fire

Aerial photo shows remains of warehouse on December 5, 2016 after fire killed at least 36 people in Oakland

JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

OAKLAND -- Oakland city officials retracted Thursday night a just-instituted “see and report” policy for Oakland police officers regarding illegal parties and living spaces, reports CBS San Francisco.

Earlier Thursday, the station learned that police in Oakland had been ordered to immediately report it when they see an illegal party or notice any unpermitted living spaces in warehouses, in the wake of last year’s deadly “Ghost Ship” fire.

CBS San Francisco obtained a copy of a directive that Acting Police Chief David Downing sent officers Thursday afternoon.

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 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 “The email sent at 1:57 p.m. to OPD personnel was distributed prematurely and has been retracted.”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. Officers never reported any code violations.

Thursday’s directive also comes two days after the San Francisco Chronicle quoted Mayor Libby Schaaf’s spokesperson as saying police officers aren’t trained to be building inspectors.

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