Time Op-Ed: Orrick Associate and SF Police Commissioner Max Carter-Oberstone Crafts Legislative Solutions for Policing


In this Time article, associate Max Carter-Oberstone unveils the new regulation he proposed this week as a member of the San Francisco Police Commission to curtail pretextual police traffic stops in a way that promotes public safety.

Max, who spent last year as an Orrick Fellow with New York University School of Law’s Policing Project, discusses the public safety pitfalls of unchecked pretext traffic stops and how it can lead to tragic consequences. His legislation includes several key provisions, including prohibiting such stops for low-level traffic offenses and limiting consent searches during traffic stops.

The San Francisco Chronicle, KQED and other media outlets have also highlighted Max’s proposed regulation.

“While commentators often reflexively assume that there is an inherent tradeoff between police reform and public safety, that is generally not the case,” Max writes. “And curtailing the use of pretext stops is a prime example. It doesn’t matter whether you’re chiefly concerned with officer safety, or better police response times, or racial disparities in the criminal justice system: everyone comes out a winner when pretext stops are phased out. Seldom is there such a confluence of diverse stakeholders that stand to gain from a single policy proposal.”