U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson warned the city Wednesday that any delays might result in fines or a federal takeover of the department, the Oakland Tribune reported. He signed off on the agreement between the city and lawyers for 119 plaintiffs, and ordered both sides to submit a list of proposed monitors by Dec. 21.
"I think this is the last, best chance for everyone," said John Burris, one of the two lawyers for the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit was filed over the activities of a group of four police officers known as "the Riders." The four veterans were considered models until a newly hired officer resigned 10 days after he started in 2000 and reported widespread misconduct to Internal Affairs.
In 2003, the city agreed to pay the plaintiffs more than $10 million and to institute a series of reforms.
The new goal is to make changes in the department by the end of next year. Under the agreed schedule, the compliance director must draw up an action plan within 30 days of starting and set benchmarks to cut racial profiling and unjustified force.
The director will have the power to fire the police chief and to countermand decisions by department commanders.