Portland Copwatch Analyzes Compliance Officer Report on US DOJ Agreement February 2024

Table of contents
Use of Force Compliant on Paper, Not in Community
Training is Just All Right with Them
Mental Health and Crisis Intervention: Is There Improvement?
Employee Information System Still Not Identifying Trends
Accountability--or Lack Thereof
Settlement Data: Average Payout Amounts Won't Change Behavior
Community Engagement/PCCEP: Compliance Doesn't Fix Problems
Other Remedies--the Forever Investigations, New Review Board and More
New Acronym to Get Used To

To: Compliance Officer/Community Liaison
US Department of Justice
cc: Hon. Judge Michael Simon
City of Portland
Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing
AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform and other community organizations
News media

an analysis by Portland Copwatch, February 18, 2024

Until a new Court Monitor is appointed this year, the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL) is under contract to continue publishing quarterly Reports about whether the City has adequately met the requirements of the 2012 Settlement Agreement between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the City of Portland. A new compliance Report for Q3 2023 was released in January during the ice storm that hit Portland.*-1 As Portland Copwatch (PCW) has noted in the past, the underlying premise of the Agreement-- that Portland Police use too much force, especially against people with mental illness-- is sometimes lost in the academic analysis the COCL provides of data provided to them by the PPB. Of particular note: PCW has been asking for years why the data about lawsuits settled by the City, required by Paragraph 170(e)(v), has never been included since the COCL Reports were first published in 2015. The good news is that there are data in the new Report covering two years and over two million dollars in payouts. The bad news: the analysis is about the average payments per case, with no discussion of what officer behaviors led to these expenditures, so no advice was given on how to prevent them in the future.

In the Q2 Report, the COCL found 21 paragraphs of roughly 96 were still only in Partial Compliance. This time eight paragraphs were re-classified as being in "Substantial Compliance," leaving only 13.*-2 Most of the improvements were in the Use of Force Section (70, 73, 74, 75 and 77), with two in the Training Section (78 and 81) and the last in Accountability (121). The latter was regarding the required 180 day investigation timeline, where apparently because there was a misunderstanding about when an officer being on leave would stop the clock, it led to revising 11 quarters (nearly three years of data) and a new finding that the timeline has been met 90% of the time [pp. 87-88].

Among the areas that still need improvement are the still-lacking Police Review Board (PRB) hearings (131), the Employee Information System's ability to get the PPB to highlight officers who use more force than their peers (116-117), and the planned but not yet implemented Body Worn Camera program.

The COCL rightly notes that Paragraph 195, which requires the City's implementation of a new oversight system to be functional, is in Partial Compliance. It's much more neutral about the content of the proposal put forward by the Police Accountability Commission to Council in September than the COCL's Technical Assistance Document. However, it mentions the "pared down" version submitted to City Council in November (p. 140), though that was in Q4 and arguably "pared down" is a huge understatement. The PAC and community supporters refer to what the Council did as "gutting" the oversight plan.

One area where the Report gets things right, but is perhaps understated, is around the Force Inspector's assertion that the Training Advisory Council (TAC) can't make the Bureau change quarterly force reports due to the current format having been approved by the COCL and the DOJ. Despite this being a clear position articulated by the Inspector, the COCL says that they "appear" to have made the claim at a TAC meeting, but states that what's currently included in those reports is a minimum and the Bureau should work with the Council to include data that is useful to them (86) [pp. 47-48].

Looming over this Report is the question of what happens to the paragraphs that were dismissed when Judge Michael Simon approved amendments to the Agreement in November (Q4). The idea is that the new Monitor won't have to assess 40 of the requirements any more. But what if the City backslides on some of them? Will the COCL be allowed to call them out or will the City say it doesn't matter because the paragraphs technically aren't part of the Agreement any more?

Just as they did in Q2, the Portland Police shot and killed someone outside the borders of the City of Portland in Q3. The death of PoniaX Calles is being investigated by the Gresham Police, since that is where three officers killed the young Black murder suspect. The COCL matter-of-factly states that information on the April shooting of Jack Watson came in during this quarter, and that info on Calles' death was not available to them (2.5 months after the incident) [p. 91]. PCW recognizes that other jurisdictions aren't bound by the Settlement Agreement, but interagency agreements should be set up to ensure the integrity of investigations into Portland Police shootings is the same no matter who's in charge.

Another stand-out is that Paragraph 115, which requires the system that responds to emergency calls about people in crisis to be fully functional, was called out by the DOJ as needing more work until the dispatching of Portland Street Response (PSR) is settled. The City has stopped talking about the 16-person committee created during negotiations over the Portland Police Association (PPA) contract in 2022 (!!) which was supposed to resolve these issues among the Fire Bureau, the Police Association, the 911 dispatchers, and the PSR employees. This paragraph was set aside in the amendments to the Agreement in November because the City and DOJ did not see eye to eye about it. The COCL' s Report finds 115 to be in full compliance and makes no recommendations or comments on the dispute.*-3

This is the second Report with Dr. Tom Christoff as the COCL, running about the same length as the Q2 Report at just over 130 pages. As usual, there are tidbits of information the community can't find anywhere else, some good recommendations and analysis, and some frustrating gaps in the Report.

As above, paragraph numbers in the body of our analysis will generally appear in (parentheses) with Report page numbers in [brackets].

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Now that the COCL is saying the entire Use of Force Section is in Substantial Compliance, one has to wonder why there are still so many complaints about force, community anecdotes about police violence, and shootings of people who are in mental health crisis. (70, 73, 74, 75 and 77)

--The COCL sampled 20 cases and found none of the force was "unreasonable" and that officers showed "avoidance skills" (66/67) [pp. 23-24]. Still, they think the Bureau needs to better define "de-escalation" as officers are not universally using the term correctly. PCW adds here that the term "de-escalation" is still used to mean both using other skills to avoid force AND to use less force after the violence has begun. The Bureau began using two separate terms for these: "Proactive De- escalation" and "Reactive De-escalation" (Directive 1010.00) While it would make more sense to call the latter "mitigation of force," we hope the COCL will encourage the Bureau to be consistent about these terms.

--The Report talks about how the Bureau uses Conductive Energy Weapons (CEWs--in Portland the use the Taser brand) to take people into custody without using a "higher level of force." But they don't indicate what would be a higher level of force. Without a chart explaining the continuum of force, it's difficult to know what this means (68) [p. 25]. There's also mention that the issue that supposedly led to three officers using their Tasers at once on the same person as reported in Q2 was "fixed" by training officers to do required spark tests on their CEWs. Sorry, that doesn't address the multiple use issue.

--Regarding Force Reporting, the COCL says that one case of Control Against Resistance wasn't reported, then a Sergeant didn't notice that lapse, but the Chain of Command found it (69) [p. 26]. Not entirely comforting. The analysis claims this is not an attempt to avoid reporting, but rather some officers over-report things that are not force (handcuffing someone who did not resist) or under-report. They suggest fixing the definitions for clarity.

---Confusingly, the COCL (a) claims they have no comment on the fact that Portland requires reporting of actions as Use of Force that aren't reported nationally, (b) comments on it by saying that and (c) says a force inspector in Florida has similar issues with officers over and under- reporting [p. 27]. So... someone else DOES require the reports?

--In short, the COCL says that paragraphs 70, 73, 74, 75 and 77 all came back into compliance because of improved use of After Action Reports, Chain of Command Reviews and auditing. It's a little hard to tell exactly what was improved upon because they reference subsections of Paragraphs 76 ("B, C and F") and 77 ("B, E and G") without listing the contents in the Report [pp. 28 and 31- 33].

--Addressed both here and in the Employee Information System Section, the Bureau's analysis of officers who use more force than others says there has been a protocol established to improve these actions. The expert from out of town warns the community not to make the mistake of picturing the officers who use a lot of force using Tasers, striking people or causing physical injury because most force use is the low level "Category IV" (76) [pp. 34-36]. First of all, if you're subjected to force by a cop, it doesn't help to have someone minimize that experience in an academic review. Second of all, it seems this was written in part to refute a community group's analysis of the officers who used the most force, released on January 10, days before the COCL Report. An Oregon Public Broadcasting story on "Ctl-Alt-Defund"'s research quoted another expert who said the repeated low level force is a reason for concern and intervention should happen to avoid escalation (February 2).

---An example of the low level force, and another example of the detachment shown by the analysts, is that people are held down when being transported to the hospital "for their own benefit" in 1.4% of Category IV Force uses [p. 36]. PCW highlighted this same attitude in Q2 when the COCL wrote about a "resistant subject" having their head pulled up by a cop twice so they could take a booking photo.

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Similarly, the new Report gives a 100% compliance rating for the Training Section, as the only outstanding issue before was whether they were tracking individual officers' specialty trainings (such as "less lethal" weapons). It's encouraging that the COCL suggests some community-friendly items, but the Bureau's unlikely to take those recommendations since Substantial is good enough for them.

--Paragraph 78, which can only be in Substantial Compliance when the whole Training Section is approved, was moved up because Paragraph 81 about the training skills was fixed by a new database [pp. 37 and 41-42]

--However, the Bureau conducted a "Needs Assessment" looking at mass demonstrations which doesn't seem to have included community input (79) [pp. 38-39]. As in the past the input included whether officers got injured-- not community members. It's slightly impressive that the Bureau identified issues around shooting at moving vehicles, which PCW believes goes back to an officer who shot at a car that had hit her in 2020, as well as
getting "uncooperative" people out of vehicles... which relates to another shooting from 2021.

---The lack of community input to the Needs Assessment is stranger because (a) the Agreement calls for it, and (b) the COCL encourages the PPB to give the community a larger role in setting training priorities... not at Paragraph 79 but for Paragraph 85 on Training Audits (they made this suggestion in Q2 as well). They also suggest having more civilians conduct training, which seems like a good idea with all the turnover at the Bureau [p. 46].

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The Sections on Mental Health and Crisis Intervention have both been in Substantial Compliance for a while by the COCL's figuring. As noted above, people in crisis are still being shot and killed (PoniaX Calles, Matthew Holland and other recent incidents come to mind), but as PCW has written before, the Agreement means the Bureau just has to have processes in place to examine mental health issues, they don't have to stop killing people.

--Six percent of incidents leading to officers filling out "Mental Health Templates" led to use of force (105) [p. 68]. But the Bureau's data on Force says that they only use force in 3% of custodies. So, why so high on people in crisis?

--The Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT) gained 20 new members in Q3, bringing the total to 167 (99) [pp. iii and 62-63]. The Bureau talked to the Behavioral Health Unit Advisory Committee (BHUAC) about their proposal to put ECIT officers into a special car so they could be dispatched in certain situations. The officers would be on overtime (!). THE BHUAC insightfully worried this could lead to burnout (95) [pp. 58-59]. They also wondered whether the car would be needed with 20 new ECIT members (96) [pp. 60-61].

--The police told the BHUAC not to worry about a Directive on Mental Health Response missing mentions of Portland Street Response or the 988 mental health reporting line because those services are not run by police. BHUAC rightly pushed back and asked them to include that information so officers would have it (95).

--Members of the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) attended a "Threat Assessment Professional" conference (104) [p. 67]. If this unit is specializing in humanizing people who have mental illness, PCW has said, they should use a word like "risk" instead of "threat" which implies anyone can put the officers in danger. At a BHUAC public meeting, when PCW raised this issue, Lt. Chris Burley stated that it was a term used in the industry so they won't change it. Well... maybe the industry is wrong?

--Lack of criminal history or committing crimes are still the main reasons people can't get housing and treatment from the Service Coordination Team (112) [p. 75]. There's something fundamentally wrong about that. Also, only two people completed the SCT program in Q3 [p. 76].

Among other concerns in this area, PCW noted in these sections:

--There was a major reorganization of the Bureau where the BHU is now part of a new Specialized Resources Division; there is no analysis of the reasoning or possible ramifications (91) [p. 55].

--The ECIT was given a 10 hour "motivational interview training"... whatever that is (102) [p. 66].

--BHU's newsletter touted the "Shop with a Cop" program that helps kids get school supplies (104) [p. 67]... what does that have to do with mental health response by police, or is the BHU just interested in feel-good stories?

--The BHUAC canceled one of their meetings due to lack of quorum (termed "low availability" in the Report) [p. iii].

--The COCL reports that the 22 calls out of 287 that came back from a crisis line to the ECIT _may have been_ because more information was learned by the crisis line than came into 911 (115) [p. 80]. Why don't they know?

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As noted in the Use of Force Section, the use of the Employee Information System (EIS) to identify officers or units which generally use more force than others is not producing the results the Agreement envisions. Paragraphs 116 and 117 have been in "Partial Compliance" since 2020. Apparently the Bureau has written a new protocol called SOP #5 which should give guidance on how to identify outliers. Unfortunately, the COCL says that the guidelines "allow the Force Inspector's experience to guide the process" [pp. 81-82]. There have been seven Force Inspectors over the course of seven years at the Bureau. This turnover is likely part of the reason the EIS is not working as planned.

Also, the Report notes that there is not agreement among DOJ, COCL and the City about whether an audit should be done to see whether the EIS is generally effective, so they will wait until the Court Monitor is appointed and let them sort that out.

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The Report is clear that there are 16 out of 21 paragraphs in the Accountability Section that are in Substantial Compliance. The remaining ones are 126, 128, 131, 137 and 169 (p. iv). There is notably once again no follow up to the Q1 COCL Report which found that 25% of 20 random cases they reviewed were not "tactically sound." However there are some interesting and useful data about the substance and outcomes of misconduct investigations and other updates which we detail here. We've placed the Settlements information into a separate section of this analysis due to their novelty and importance.

__Complaint Substance and Outcomes

--The Report reveals that only 12 of 388 force allegations were sustained over the course of three and 3/4 years (It's not clear why it wasn't a round number like, say, four years), from Q1 2020 to Q3 2023 [p. 110]. The Report shows that is a 3% sustain rate. At the town hall held on February 7, both the COCL and Portland Copwatch speculated that the overall rate of 8% and Use of Force might be in part because all Use of Force allegations are required to be investigated. However, this is apples-and-oranges as the 8% sustain rate is just for 2023 allegations (9 out of 107 total). The overall rate for 2020-2023 is 16% (130 out of 831 allegations), so the disparity is even greater than at first glance. A quick calculation based on 44% of allegations being dismissed suggests that even if the sustain rate were based on allegations made, rather than allegations investigated (as PCW has urged for years), the overall rate would still be close to 11%. It's more likely that police have too much latitude to use force based on the policies.

--Notably, the table for 2020-2023 shows that one Disparate Treatment allegation was sustained, which has only happened one other time since 2002. PCW hopes the revised Report will explain the circumstances.

--The Report also says that four people complained about Retaliation in Q3, leading to one sustained finding, also a rarity. Two others were still under investigation when the Report was written, and one was sent to a precinct for review (130) [p. 97]. It would be helpful for the COCL to describe what constituted the retaliation, at least in the sustained case.

--Other data show that the findings that were used in 2023 other than the 8% that were sustained were: "Not Sustained" (meaning there's insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations)- 43%, "Exonerated" (in policy)- 20% and "Unfounded" (meaning the incident did not even happen as the person alleged)- 29%. That finding is likely overused as it used to only be attached to about 20% of allegations in 2017.

--Portland Copwatch has been a proponent of mediation, where officers and community members meet one on one with a professional mediator to discuss incidents without any discipline imposed. Over the years it fell out of use to where fewer than 10 mediations were taking place per year. On page 109, it shows that mediation was used 38 times in the one year ending in Q3 2023. It would be good to hear how the Independent Police Review (IPR) promoted the program and what kinds of satisfaction ratings came from officers and community folks.

--In one case, the IPR suspended a Force investigation because they could not interview the complainant. The COCL correctly points out that it was better to suspend the case with the potential to come back to it than to attach a "non-sustained" finding (which is the correct term to cover "Not Sustained," "Exonerated" and "Unfounded"). In another case, the person's allegations were supposedly refuted by security camera footage and the "officer's recording" (not clear if this was with a Body Worn Camera, which were used in August and September as part of a pilot project). A third case had video evidence from "mobile audio video" (not sure what this means) and a witness from Project Respond (129) [pp. 95-96]. There is no mention of cases the COCL called attention to in the past which should have been investigated but were not.

--The most common of 50 Directives (policies) leading to investigations were Use of Force -- 21%, Satisfactory Performance-- 19%, Courtesy-- 13%, and Searches--12% [p. 108].

--Only 36% of allegations received full investigations, though in North Precinct that number was 6% (that's not a typo) where they dismissed 70% of allegations [pp. 109-110].

--246 Bureau employees received complaints, 85% who held the rank of Officer. 83 had more than one complaint-- one had seven, two had four, and 20 others (we think) had three [pp. 110-111]. It's not clear how many had two.

__Other Force Updates

--With regard to the new oversight system, the COCL notes that they want to see whether it will be able to meet the 180 day deadline required by paragraph 121 [pp. 87-88]. They also mentioned that the Independent Police Review and the new system may end up in the same "Service Area" as the police when City Charter changes kick in for 2025 (p. iv). This is counterproductive since these are entities that need to be independent of police. In a footnote on p. 95 they note that decision is subject to change.

--The reason Paragraph 126 is still out of full compliance is that the PPB made allowances to interview a witness officer in a 2021 shooting incident who was traumatized, but have not yet finished updating the policy around that process [p. 93].

--The Police Review Board process is still failing. The Bureau's PRB Coordinator now facilitates some meetings-- you may recall that they were having trouble recruiting/keeping independent contractors. But the Board still fails to look at deficient tactics, and sometimes categorizes failings as unsatisfactory performance instead of improper force (131) [p. 98].

--Paragraph 137 about the Discipline Guide is also still out of compliance because the PPB has not incorporated the Corrective Action guide approved in February 2022 into their policies. The COCL was able to review one corrective action recommendation... it's unclear if that was the only one issued in the three month period [p. 102].

--Though Paragraph 169 is technically in the "Implementation and Enforcement" Section, the DOJ and COCL include it with Accountability because it calls for officers to be properly held accountable for misconduct. The COCL says this is not happening, speculating that with more guidance to supervisors and the Police Review Board things might improve [p. 105].

--PCW takes note that the Compliance Officer said the Citizen Review Committee, which still hasn't heard an appeal of misconduct since 2021, continued to have 11 members with resignations in Q4 (134) [p. 100]. However, at least three members resigned in Q3-- Amanda Greenvoss, Vadim Mozyrsky and Taylor Snell. Accurate reports on CRC's activities have been lacking both by the COCL and the IPR, which houses the group.

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Portland Copwatch made extensive comments about the inclusion of Settlement data in the new Report. As noted above, it was disappointing that the information included is focused on the costs to the city, rather than the behavior of the police that led to the payouts. This is especially important because the money doesn't come out of the officers' pockets or the Police Bureau budget.

In short, the data show the City paid out over $2 million for 64 claims which went to 70 payees, with the vast majority being bodily injury suits [p. 110]. In 30% of the cases there was an agreement to accept a judgment-- meaning those payouts were not subject to City Council approval. It would benefit the community to learn the nature of those cases specifically since they are, by that process, kept from the public eye.

PCW's three main suggestions to include in the revised Report and future analyses are:

1. The kinds of force and/or property damage that led to the settlements;
2. Whether officers were held accountable in any of the incidents; and,
3. What recommendations can be made to avoid future bad outcomes

Even if the city pays out money, there's no guarantee the officer involved will be held accountable for their
actions. The Agreement has specific reasons why someone might be excluded from being allowed to be a trainer (83) or on the ECIT (101), but that doesn't prohibit the city from expanding those criteria.

If an officer who abuses their power is allowed to retain their job, there should at least be more discretion used about allowing that officer to serve in leadership or training positions.

For example, Officer Charles Elam was one of three PPB officers responsible for a $13,750 settlement based on
violence used during a protest on August 1, 2020. Officer Elam shoved a member of the media into a bush with his baton before two other officers slammed that person onto the hood of a car and pepper sprayed him in the face.

Elam was also named by Sgt. Jeffrey McDaniel as possibly having contributed to putting the "Dirty Hippy" slide in the Rapid Response Team training presentation.*-4 According to the investigation into that scandal, the only other PPB employee who recalled seeing the Dirty Hippy meme was Craig Dobson.

In 2023, both Elam (promoted to Sergeant in 2021) and Dobson (promoted to Commander in 2020) are listed as 2023 Crowd Management and Incident Management Team Leaders, and Lead Instructors in the 2023 Training Needs Assessment: Law Enforcement Response to Mass Demonstrations.*-5

The Agreement states that information reported around paragraph 170(e)(v) should be used to inform the accountability and oversight systems, effective training, proper management of use of force, etc. We hope that officers who have betrayed the trust of the community in the various ways that Elam and Dobson did would preclude them from leadership positions to train the next generation of police officers, and that the COCL will call for such a policy change.

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The entire Section on Community Engagement, which includes the duties of the Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP), was found in Substantial Compliance. But as noted by the few PCCEP members interviewed by the COCL, even when the City accepts a recommendation from the group, it sometimes takes a long time for it to be implemented [pp. 124- 125]. It's also telling that the COCL did not ask the PCCEP about fulfilling one crucial responsibility assigned to them: reviewing the implementation of the Settlement Agreement.

--The COCL commends the Mayor for meeting with the PCCEP in August as such a meeting is supposed to happen twice a year, but hadn't occurred for well over a year (142) [pp. 113-114]. But the other people/entities listed in the PCCEP plan including the Chief, Precinct Commanders, Neighborhood Response Teams and the Office of Community and Civil Life (formerly Office of Neighborhood Involvement) have not gone to any meetings.

--The PCCEP has not had stable participation from youth members (16-23 year olds) in years; one seat was until the end of Q3. The COCL encourages them to recruit more youth but still finds compliance with membership (143) [pp. 113-114].

---Paragraph 144 requires adequate staffing for PCCEP. In Q2 it was reported they only had 1.5 full time staff; now they are up to 1.83 with an apparently new job called "Service Aide" at 1/3 time [p. 115]. It's not clear that is "adequate" for the 13 member group to do its work.

--One of the only sections of the Agreement to address race, Paragraph 148 technically only requires the Bureau to collect data on traffic stops, not to fix the underlying disparities. The COCL keeps calling the Bureau's analyses of the stops "quality" but they use statistical gymnastics to point to Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders as the only group overstopped by police [p. 119], even though Black drivers make up 19% of stops but only 15% of those involved in traffic crashes, the benchmark used instead of population.

---Black drivers are also highlighted as being subjected to more non-moving violation tickets, despite a state law which discourages overuse of such enforcement. The COCL says to look at that, but as the Agreement doesn't say the police have to fix anything, that's as much as they can do.

--Portland Copwatch is still not satisfied with the Bureau's presentation of its Annual Report, which merely checks the boxes of what is supposed to be included in Paragraph 150. The COCL lists the Precinct meetings that were held on July 20, 25 and 27, saying there were 2-3 dozen people at each. (It's not clear that was the case, but the Zoom format made it difficult to tell.) Though the Chief did present the Report to City Council in August [p. 121], he did not report to them anything that was heard at the Precinct meetings. The good news: The public was allowed to testify about the Report at Council in 2023, something not noted by the COCL despite this being only the second year that Council officially made such input possible.

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As noted above, the COCL was more fair to the Police Accountability Commission in this Report than in its separate document issued in early October.*-6 PCW shares the concerns they raised about Body Cameras, but wonders why they are not more concerned about the investigations of the protests in 2020 not being completed.

__Paragraph 189

Covering the external review of the 2020 protests by an independent contractor, 189 is in Partial Compliance because the Independent Monitor LLC (IMLLC) put out their report in August, listing several recommendations for changes to PPB training and policy. Portland Copwatch made separate comments about the inadequacy of those recommendations, but here are the salient points in the COCL Report:

---There was training about crowd control in 2021 and early 2023, but the Bureau's Training Needs Assessment only talks about needing more in 2024 without including any details [p. 129].

---The IMLLC report was apparently not given to the COCL [p. 20].

---The Agreement requires a follow up report in six months, which would imply a February release. However, the COCL says the follow up is expected in "fall 2024," or at least 13 months after the original [p. 129].

__Paragraph 192

This subsection calls for the Independent Police Review to investigate supervisors who may have incorrectly trained or advised officers in the 2020 protests about proper crowd control/use of force. The COCL Report covers a period three years after those protests began winding down, and was released nearly four years after they began. The COCL has no comment [p. 132]-- including anything as simple as what Portland Copwatch asked for last quarter, such as a general explanation of why it's taking so long.

__Paragraph 194

The City partially fulfilled 194 with their Body Worn Camera (BWC) pilot project that ran from August to October. The COCL notes again, as they did in Q2, that they were not given a draft of the policy on the cameras [p. 135]-- a possible violation of Paragraph 166. The City had the COCL host a town hall about Body Cams and issue a report about the feedback. They asked to be included in the new round of policy changes. Unfortunately, at least with regard to the public feedback, the window to comment closed in mid-January (when PCW sent in extensive comments).

Other updates on the body camera program:

--The COCL wondered again what kind of metrics were and will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of BWCs [also p. 135]. PCW raised this issue various times, including at City Council, where in Q4 the City committed millions of more dollars to the program with no publicly shared evaluation data. The little that did come out showed that only police, no community members, were on the evaluation committee. The COCL suggests including the community in planning.

--The Report suggests that the Bureau needs more specific plans about the rollout, including staffing, strategy, trust and accountability.*-7

__Paragraph 195

As a reminder, the new oversight system is included as part of the Settlement Agreement because Portlanders changed the City Charter in 2020 to include a community-based system in the City Charter. The vote was 82%-18%. The City approved the "pared-down" version of the Police Accountability Commission (PAC)'s proposal, which feels like they rejected 82% of what was proposed. To be fair, that revised version came out in Q4, so maybe more attention will be paid to what could be lost in the next COCL Report. In the meantime:

--They talked about the content of the PAC's plan, including how a case would make it through from the complaint to the imposition of discipline. Without comment, they quote the PAC's Definition of Independent Judgment "a demonstrable absence of real or perceived influence from law enforcement, political actors, and other special interests looking to affect the operations of the civilian oversight agency" [p. 138]. This is important because the COCL's Technical Assistance statement urged more police involvement in the process, which the PAC recognized as contrary to that definition.

--Confusingly, though, the COCL only mentions intake of "Discourtesy, dishonest [sic] or neglect of duty" complaints [pp. 139-140], whereas not only the Charter, but both the PAC plan and the City's gutted version include many other issues including force and racial profiling.

--The description of the system also includes appeals of proposed findings, which the City has plans to cut despite their being part of the existing Agreement (re: the Citizen Review Committee) and both of Portland's oversight systems since 1982. Other parts highlighted by the COCL which got cut in the City's revision include the use of a Complaint Navigator (supposed to be assigned at intake, City put it off until a decision is made to investigate), the fact that one entity should be covering all aspects of the complaint process (while the City wants to keep Police Internal Affairs in place for a majority of investigations), and public hearings being held if the officer requests them or the board thinks it is in the community interest (also cut by the City) [pp. 139-140, again].

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A new section of the Report is devoted to the "Community Engagement Team" (CET). This is a group of people who are part of the COCL team, including Dr. Steven Holt and Janie Gullickson (former community chair of the Behavioral Health Unit Advisory Committee). Their task is to conduct interviews, focus groups, and listening sessions using something called the "snowball sampling" approach, which is not well explained. The CET apparently reached out to 80 groups, and 100 people one on one, and plans to hold listening sessions in 2024. They want to focus on safety, use of force and responses other than by police. The feedback so far shows a skeptical response about changes, and that few people knew about the Settlement Agreement [pp. 21-22].

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Overall, there is still a fundamental gap between the COCL's academic approach to evaluating progress of the Settlement Agreement and what people on the streets experience, witness and think. It's possible the new Community Engagement Team will get the COCL to better understand that gap and find ways to bridge it. The Portland Police report feeling demoralized and put upon due to the scrutiny heaped on them when they used excessive force against people-- predominantly people of color-- protesting police excessive force against people of color. That feeling may be subjectively valid, but it should not preclude changing the policies, training and culture to create a police force that's free of corruption, brutality and racism-- a main goal of Portland Copwatch.


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*1- Find the Report at https://www.portlandcocl.com/reports/011824/draft-quarterly-report-quarter- updates-analysis

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*2- PCW appreciates that the COCL has included the total number in the Report this time.

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*3- Unless the reference at Paragraph 113 to 911 dispatch being a way to "partially satisfy" the requirement for Crisis Triage is an oblique reference to the issue [p. 78].

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*4- McDaniel's proposed discipline document at page 6:

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*5- https://www.portland.gov/police/divisions/documents/2023-training-needs-assessment-mass- demonstrations/download

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*7- it's not clear if the COCL is referring to accountability about camera use or the behavior of officers toward the community that will be recorded.

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Posted February 18, 2024