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Outlaw's Outpost: Chief Gets Press, Meets Copwatch Again, Starts Strategic Plan Media Assess Outlaw's First 8 Months; Alarming Radio Remarks in Month 10

By the time this newsletter goes to press, Chief Danielle Outlaw will have been in Portland for almost an entire year. The Portland Tribune and the Oregonian each ran cover stories about her progress around the beginning of June, eight months since she moved up from Oakland (May 31 and June 6). The Tribune followed up with a June 12 editorial titled "Outlaw proving her worth as chief," which name-checks Portland Copwatch (PCW) for being willing to give the Chief "some breathing room." This was before her defense of police violence at protest actions (p. 9), with some particularly alarming comments made on the conservative Lars Larson show on August 14. Both eight month reviews focused on her late April decision to appoint Captain Bob Day as her Deputy Chief, with the Oregonian revealing she had intended to bring a Deputy from Oakland, but City bureaucracy led that person to drop out. The rest of her command staff are Assistant Chiefs (A/Cs) Chris Davis, who was already in that position (and was involved in the 2001 killing of Jose Mejia Poot-- PPR #24), Jami Resch, plucked from her position as Captain at North Precinct, and Ryan Lee, a Lieutenant who headed the Rapid Response Team which cracks down on protests. One takeaway from the Oregonian article: after hearing from Sergeant Steve Wilbon that the Chief's messages often get diluted by command staff, Outlaw met privately with just Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Sergeants. This seems like a good management strategy. Tribune article, titled Outlaw proving her worth as 
chiefConversely, the Chief's comments on the Larson show indicated a disdain for the antifascist protestors who rallied for peace and inclusion on August 4. She stated that police were there for "citizens" as though the protestors were not community members exercising their First Amendment rights. Outlaw also compared the protestors to people who wanted to fight the school bully but lost the fight; never mind that in this analogy the alt-righters are the bullies yet it was the police who beat the leftists. The Chief presupposes that everyone there wanted to engage in violence, which is on its face not true. Outlaw also stated that had the Mayor not given the green light to sweep the Occupy ICE PDX encampment (p. 4), she would have done so herself. The Mayor is the Police Commissioner, so this statement raises deep concerns about civilian control of our City's police.

Chief's Second Meeting with PCW: Continuing Respectful Discussions

As with our first meeting in February (PPR #74), Chief Outlaw continued to respectfully hear out PCW's concerns without becoming defensive when we met with her again in June. This time she brought A/C Resch with her. One concern was that the Bureau and Council chose to fund about 50 new full-fledged officers when the program to hire unarmed Community Service Officers (CSOs) has not begun. We noted these unarmed officers' presence to take care of lower-priority calls could free up the current armed officers to cover more ground (if that is the goal). Outlaw informed us the program should be in place by early 2019, and, reflecting comments given by Mayor Wheeler at the May "public safety forum," confirmed there is a debate about whether the CSOs will be represented by the Portland Police Association or another collective bargaining unit. Only 12 CSOs are budgeted for the pilot program, which won't cover all three precincts on all seven days. The Chief acknowledged our concerns about the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) but disagreed about the utility of keeping officers in the unit. She noted that the two officers assigned to the JTTF are still part-time since her goal is to put the new officers out on patrol rather than in specialty units (also see p. 4). PCW also raised concerns about the treatment of houseless persons by the PPB, as well as people who had their belongings destroyed by Clean and Safe security (p. 1). The Chief said she would follow up, but also asked PCW for input on policy ideas. We talked about the shooting of John Elifritz (PPR #74 / p. 1), as well as training around implicit bias, gender parity and de-escalation.

Five Year Strategic Plan "Steering Committee" Meets

On June 25, a body selected by the Chief to work on a five year strategic plan for the Bureau had its first meeting. After PCW was invited to participate, we said that such meetings should be open to the public (which happened), then decided to observe rather than participate. The process is driven predominantly by consultants with the Coraggio Group, with little input from the "Steering Committee." Given the low level of input they are having into the plan, which will be written by a separate "planning team," the group is more of a sounding board than a Steering Committee. The Committee gave some feedback on adding words to the Bureau's goals (including "transparency" and "communication") and which groups should be invited for special facilitated sessions (including houseless persons and sexual minorities). But overall the fourteen members present had little to say. The three members of the general public attending were not invited to give input at all. The strategic plan parameters, public sessions, and minutes are posted at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/76886.
  People's Police Report

September, 2018
Also in PPR #75

PPB Car Chase Leads to Deadly Crash
OR Shootings Hit Annual Average by July
Police and "Union" vs. Houseless People
Review Committee Shunned, Seeks Change
Oversight Report Drops Force Data
Portland Police Collaborate with ICE
Terror Task Force in the News
COCL Says DOJ Agreement Almost Done
Training Council Streamlines Processes
Police Crack Down on Antifascist Rallies
Chief Gets Press, Starts Strategic Plan
Sheriff Actions: Pro and Con
Copwatch Comments on Bureau Policies
Quick Flashes #75
  • PPR's 25th Anniversary
  • PPB Cop Uses 'N' Word / Profiling Updates
  • Supremes Uphold Cell Phone Privacy
Rapping Back #75
 

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.


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