A federal judge late Thursday ruled that the troubled Oakland (CA) Police Department can take a big step toward ending nearly two decades of federal oversight.

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick ruled that Oakland can now enter a one-year probationary period after meeting dozens of reform measures required in a consent decree that followed lawsuits related to abuses by members of a West Oakland police anti-gang unit who called themselves "The Riders."

For nearly two decades a court-appointed monitor has overseen whether the OPD is meeting more than 50 reform mandated actions. The monitors reports are then reviewed by a judge, NPR reports.

While acknowledging there's much work still to do, the city's mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong welcomed the end of federal oversight as a sign of real progress.