Copwatch - a project of Peace and Justice Works


Site Navigation

About us
People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Cool links
Other Information
Contact info



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 agreement.

  • 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 confidentiality agreement.

  • 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.

    Back to top


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.

Page last updated February 4, 2015

Back to Portland Copwatch home page
Peace and Justice Works home page
Back to top