People's Police Report
A SHORT GLOSSARY - PORTLAND COPWATCH
Ever wonder what all these things are we're talking about in our newsletter and on the website?
Here are some (we hope) helpful definitions:
- Portland Police Bureau (PPB):
The City of Portland's police department, because of our Commission form of government, is called
a "Bureau" and is headed by a City Council member delegated to be the Commissioner of Police
(usually the Mayor).
- Independent Police Review Division (IPR):
Administrative body in the Auditor's office consisting of twelve full- and part-time
staff set up to do all intake of citizen complaints alleging police misconduct. Given limited
"Independent" power when established in 2001, in 2014 the IPR gained added authority to conduct
its own investigations, but not the power to compel officer testimony.
- Citizen Review Committee (CRC):
Panel of eleven volunteers set up
of the IPR to review closed cases of alleged police misconduct, hear appeals of
Bureau findings, and make policy recommendations for the PPB. Members
have to pass a background check and sign a confidentiality
- Police Review Board (PRB):
A body internal to the PPB, which (a) for cases considering discipline when an officer is found out
of policy includes an Assistant Chief, the officer's commander, a peer officer, an IPR director, and a
community member, and (b) for cases considering deadly or excessive force allegations includes
those five members plus an additional peer officer and one member of the CRC on a rotating basis.
- Directives (Police Directives-formerly "General Orders"):
The local administrative rules the police use as guidelines for doing their duty.
- Internal Affairs Division (IA):
Unit within the PPB that investigates alleged police misconduct. Staffed by PPB detectives,
though most are retired homicide detectives and at least one (as of 2015) came from another
jurisdiction. Most of the time a community member files a complaint that receives a full
investigation, it will be conducted by IA rather than IPR.
- DOJ (Settlement) Agreement:
In 2012, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) found a pattern or practice by the PPB of excessive
force, particularly against people in mental health crisis. To avoid being taken to trial, the City of
Portland signed a Settlement Agreement pledging reforms. For various reasons, the Agreement was
not entered in the court record until August, 2014.
- Human Rights Commission (HRC):
A 20-member group created in 2009 to "help eliminate discrimination and bigotry, to strengthen
inter-group relationships and foster greater understanding, inclusion and justice for those who live,
work, study, worship, travel and play in the City of Portland. The HRC is guided by the principles
embodied in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "
- Community / Police Relations Committee (CPRC):
Part of the HRC, this group has 15 members--
five Human Rights Commissioners, five "at large" community members, and five police officers, all
of whom have a vote. By City Ordinance, the CPRC is supposed to look at Racial Profiling and
traffic stop data.
- Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL):
The person (/team) hired to oversee implementation of the DOJ Agreement. In 2014, Dr. Dennis
Rosenbaum of Chicago was hired for this job, with former Oregon Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz
acting as a local representative.
- Community Oversight Advisory Board (COAB):
A twenty-member body created to oversee the work of the COCL and the implementation of the
DOJ Agreement. Five are non-voting police officers. Five community members were chosen by
City Council, five by the HRC and Portland Commission on Disabilities (PCoD), and five by a
panel of stakeholder groups.
- Training Advisory Council (TAC):
This group was created in late 2012 as the DOJ Agreement was being
negotiated. It has about 30 members, and is supposed to make recommendations
to the Bureau's Training Division. Members have to pass a background check and sign a
- Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform:
An organization which came together in 2003 after the death of Kendra James, revived again in
2009/2010 around two incidents including the death of Aaron Campbell, the AMA Coalition has a
seat at the table as "enhanced amicus curiae (friend of the court)" in the DOJ Settlement Agreement
process. Portland Copwatch has a member on the Coalition steering committee.
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