Portland Copwatch Analyzes Compliance Officer Report on US DOJ Agreement February 2023Table of contents
Good Analysis by COCL
Possible Progress at Portland Police
... But Negative Actions by the Bureau and/or the City Continue
...And There Are Some Things the COCL Is Not Getting Right
Questionable Analysis and Actions
A Crowd by Any Other Name Would Still Smell Pepper Spray
COCL Stumbles on New Oversight Board Issue
Potential Explanations for Some Info
Also Worth Mentioning
a project of Peace and Justice Works
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
To: Compliance Officer/Community Liaison
POLICE REVIEW BOARD DOWNGRADED AS PART OF NEW COMPLIANCE REPORT
ON DOJ AGREEMENT
In a report on the fourth quarter of 2022 released in early April,*-1, the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL), assessed that Portland Police made little progress toward meeting all the requirements of the 2012 US Department of Justice (DOJ) Settlement Agreement, and slid back in one significant area. The Police Review Board (PRB), a secretive body internal to the police, reviewed an incident involving officer use of force in such an inadequate hearing that their compliance rating was lowered from "Substantial" to "Partial" (paragraph 131 [pp. 9 & 147]). One other paragraph regarding tracking police training also took a step back following a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) internal audit finding the data not up to date (paragraph 81 [pp. 6&63]). Much to the chagrin or Portland Copwatch (PCW), the COCL once again gave "Substantial" ratings to the Behavioral Health Unit Advisory Committee (BHUAC), which has been around since 2014 to review policies about mental health and police (paragraphs 95-96 [p 7]). As noted in our analysis of the Q3 2022 Report, the BHUAC has never made recommendations about deadly force cases, despite the majority of them involving people in mental health crisis. A training set for March began but was not completed-- in Q1 2023-- yet the Q4 2022 rating is still "Substantial." Overall, as noted by the COCL, there are now 23 paragraphs by their judgment which still need more work for the City to come into full compliance.
As usual, the Report contains many tidbits about goings-on at the PPB which the community would otherwise not learn. Some which first arose in the Q3 2022 Report were covered by mainstream media; the Oregonian posted the nasty comments made by Portland officers about a training on LGBTQIA2S+ community rights,*-2 which prompted the Bureau to post the training video.*-3 We would encourage the COCL to print those comments in the revised Report for clarity. Other issues raised as ongoing in the new Report got resolved both before and after its release: The investigation into biased training slides [p 75], which the COCL first learned about in January, 2022, concluded in March (Q1 2023) with the suspension of Sgt. Jeff McDaniel. The Bureau hired its new civilian "Training dean" (paragraph 191) on April 19. The ongoing negotiations between the Portland Police Association (PPA) and the City about body camera policies concluded with a vote by City Council on April 26.
One item that did not appear in the Report, despite Portland Copwatch raising the issue last quarter, was the Bureau's new arbitrary policy delaying the release of the names of officers in deadly force cases by 15 days instead of the 24 hours previously required. At a town hall on the new report, the COCL asked PCW to identify which paragraph was at issue. The answer: Paragraph 167 says that "The Chief shall post on PPB's website final drafts of all new or revised policies that are proposed specific to force... to allow the public an opportunity for notice and comment, prior to finalizing such policies." The change was made without notice, an apparent violation of the Agreement.
Meanwhile, the consultants' report about the use of force during Portland's 2020 Black Lives Matter protests that was promised to be released in January has still not been released as of May 5. The COCL reports that Independent Monitor LLC (IMLLC) held a town hall in October (in Q4), and at the presentation of their own Report stated the other consultants observed the Bureau's new crowd control training in January, leading to further delay. A large number of the outstanding paragraphs are reliant on the IMLLC report being produced (not the least of which is paragraph 189 that required it be done).
Even though the COCL acknowledged an uptick in PPB use of deadly force in the Q3 Report, the fact that three people were shot (with one person dying) in Q4 did not prompt the paid consultant to analyze the data around the seventeen incidents in 2021-22. These are the cases which draw the most community concern, but the Compliance Officer continues to comment minimally on such issues as whether involved officers were asked to make statements (yes, but they decline on the advice of their lawyers [p. 142, paragraph 127]) and if communication restrictions were issued to the officers (yes, and interestingly only one went out when Jonah Gellman shot and wounded Jeremy Rieck because Gellman arrived alone at the scene [p. 140, paragraph 125]).
So overall it feels as if the Bureau is treading water as the events of 2020 move further into the rear view mirror of history. The fact that officers used force 6000 times that year on protestors isn't even hinted at in the new Report, with a chart showing the force-to-custody ratio between 2019 and 2022 listing just 652 force incidents in 2020 (p. 49).
In Portland Copwatch's following analysis, paragraph numbers generally appear in (parentheses) with Report page numbers in [brackets]. Some information is from outcomes analysis by the COCL so no specific paragraph is referenced.
GOOD ANALYSIS BY COCL
In some places in the Report, PCW found the Compliance Officer's analysis to be quite good, and is hoping the Bureau will pay attention to some of these items.
--They urge the Bureau to respond better to recommendations from the Training Advisory Council (TAC) [p. 5].
--The Report notes that the TAC asked for an explanation of why 20% of PPB custodies are Black people although Black people make up only 6% of Portland's population. Per the COCL, "[the Force Inspector's] response focused on rates of criminality... This caused a significant reaction within TAC given local and national concern about police bias." The TAC asked for more context, sensitivity and historical analysis(86) [pp. 84-85]. The COCL recommends Force Inspector should be more sensitive to the way statistics are communicated to the public [p. 86]. PCW member Dan Handelman analyzed the Bureau's claims about the disproportionate force in a video posted at tinyurl.com/overpolicingPDX. In short, for the figure of 20% of people subjected to force to be equitable, 89,000 people who are not Black would have to leave Portland on a given day, and 89,000 people who are Black would have to travel in-- more than the entire Black population of the state of Oregon.
--Similarly, the COCL notes that the rate of Black people being subjected to force went down from 29% of subjects to 24% in 2022. The PPB claims they will do a deeper dive to learn more [p. 54].
--One officer said they de-escalated in a case where they "intervened" with a suspect's car using their police vehicle without talking to the person. Two others boxed in people who were unconscious in their vehicles and the box-ins were described as de-escalation (66-67) [p. 34]. The COCL correctly flags these as incorrect use of the term "de-escalation."
--Another officer considered using pepper spray on a person who was on a gurney during medical transport, which the COCL notes would violate the Graham Standard on reasonable force, so it was not appropriate even to consider it [also p. 34]. It appears no supervisors called out the officer's self-congratulation for de-escalating by noting they'd considered violating the law.
--As a result of these two previous items, the COCL asks that the PPB deliver revised guidance on what de-escalation actually means. They give a real-world example where a woman was upset that officers used force on a family member. The Sergeant ordered the cops who'd used force to step away, which calmed down the situation [p. 35]. In the Q3 report they gave the Bureau until June 2023 to clarify what de-escalation means, which seemed like a long time but now is relatively soon.
--While the City seems to be moving toward dismantling all that is good about Portland Street Response (PSR), which sends social workers and Fire Bureau employees out to help people in mental health crisis instead of police, the COCL analyzed a drop in calls to the cops. The average number of police calls with mental health component went down from 804 per quarter in 2020-21 to 651 in 2021-22 after PSR expanded citywide (115) [p. 123].
--The COCL praises the Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP) for having their minutes posted in a timely fashion, but suggests that instead of only posting them along with the event page for each meeting, they should be on the PCCEP "documents" page (144) [p. 160]. PCW generally agrees, even though the "documents" page is a large mess and hard to sort through. The old website separated minutes, recommendations and other documents more clearly (even though it, too, was a mess).
--Although PCW disagrees with the COCL that the Chief's media team is giving visibility to the various police advisory groups, including the Coalition of Advisory Groups [p. 163], they wisely call for those groups to be more transparent [p. 172].
POSSIBLE PROGRESS AT PORTLAND POLICE
Even though no paragraphs were moved into full compliance, there are some items the COCL highlighted showing that, on occasion, the Portland Police and their advisory bodies are taking some positive steps.
--The PPB, DOJ, COCL and City Attorney held a "training summit" leading to some good
--An instructor told officers that corruption happens when low level misconduct isn't addressed (84) [p. 70].
--Part of the training for Incident Commanders is not to involve themselves in lower level activities (84) [p. 72]. This has been recommended repeatedly by the OIR Group in their analysis of Portland's deadly force incidents.
--The Training Advisory Council is considering creating a tracker to be sure their recommendations are being implemented (86) [p. 85].
--The Behavioral Health Unit Advisory Council has suggested that having someone with mental health expertise on the Police Review Board would be good (95) [p. 97].
...BUT NEGATIVE ACTIONS BY THE BUREAU AND/OR THE CITY CONTINUE
Despite these few advances, the COCL has identified or provided a narrative showing that problematic behavior is either continuing or surfacing in new ways either by the Police Bureau or other City agencies.
--The "Independent" Police Review (IPR), which processes all complaints about police misconduct, is required by paragraph 129 to investigate all allegations of excessive force. But, as the COCL has pointed out a number of times now, IPR is dismissing some of those cases because the complainant is "unavailable," though there's no written protocol allowing them to do so [pp. 8 &144].
--In one incident, an officer said that a suspect sucker punched him. The After Action Review conducted by a supervisor fails to note the officer had put his hand on the person, only noting the officers ordered him to stop and saying he then "unexpectedly" punched the cop in the face. The review claims the officer was unable to anticipate that would happen, even though perhaps touching the person might be a triggering factor. Apparently, the man was "chemically incapacitated" (ie pepper sprayed) so the supervisor did not interview him because the paramedics said it would take six hours to dissipate. (70) [pp. 38-39]
--In another incident, an officer described a person in mental health crisis as having a "teenage temper tantrum" despite knowing they were diagnosed with mental illness. Nobody up the chain of command flagged this, and the COCL correctly says that is a violation of the supervisors' responsibilities. They're not fully clear that the officer's words themselves also appear to be a violation (70) [p. 39].
--During training on workplace harassment, a person from the Bureau of Human Resources only spoke for 10 minutes, basically saying to the officers "you know all this already." The Report notes they didn't explain, for instance, the difference between retaliation and discrimination, or how to intervene (84) [p. 68]. The COCL says, in an understatement, that this presentation must be "improved" [p. 73].
--The COCL has been insisting that the Bureau needed to conduct a new audit of their training before the end of 2022. The PPB generated the audit... on December 30 (85) [p. 79]. So while they met expectations, it was fairly passive-aggressive. The audit exposed, by the way, that there is no proof that the required training Needs Assessment was presented to the Chief.
--Although the PPB appears to have agreed with the COCL that the Training Advisory Council should help select the new "civilian dean" for the Training Division, no TAC member showed up for the interviews. A footnote on p. 86 explains that the invitation went to a spam folder and there was no follow up done to see why TAC didn't respond.
--As noted above, there seem to be efforts by the City to dismantle Portland Street Response. The 911 dispatchers still do not have formal policy about when to call for PSR in part because the Portland Police Association is still negotiating whether they can, for instance, go inside a building or attend to a person in crisis in the street (113) [p. 117]. The sixteen-person committee working on the rules for PSR*-4 was formed out of the PPA contract, which was finalized in February 2022.
--The COCL and Force Inspector identified many of the same officers as outliers when it comes to using force. But when the consultants asked why some were not flagged, the Inspector's responses did not clarify the issue; rather they told the COCL to just write about their concerns in a report. The PPB focused on the fact that the officers' multiple uses of force were within policy, like one cop who had 15 uses of force in a quarter, 13 of which were "category 4" (low level). They said that because that cop was in a busy district, they weren't concerned. But the COCL pointed out that other officers, including one with nearly twice as many calls and three times as many arrests, only used force three times or less. They remind the PPB that flagging the outliers is not a form of discipline, but that their own rules say the point of looking for those who use more force is to "address trends using constructive interventions" (116-117) [pp. 129-130].
--The PPB still has not fixed the deadly force Directive (policy) to allow for witness officers who are traumatized to skip their mandatory interviews after deadly force (126) [p. 141]. This is something that came up well over a year ago.
--Expanding more on the reason they moved the Police Review Board out of full compliance, the COCL says that there was not enough information at the PRB to have a "thoughtful, unbiased, objective" discussion about the force case being considered. The presentation didn't include analysis of each use of force, and they did not discuss decisions made by the officer (or officers?), making a full review impossible. The COCL promises to talk with the DOJ about this issue (131) [p. 147].
--In a rare instance since the Agreement was put in place, a lawsuit led to a jury award which found an officer committed battery against a community member. Portland Copwatch can report this was the case of Erin Wenzel, who was awarded $40,000 for injuries at a 2020 protest. The COCL notes that the involved officer was not identified so they could not be investigated for administrative discipline. However, they remind the Bureau, one could look at the underlying issues about baton use which was something prevalent at the protests. The PPB called any review of the case "moot" because they didn't know who the officer was (133) [pp. 149-150].
--Members of the Citizen Review Committee (CRC), which hears misconduct appeals and makes recommendations on Bureau policies, told the COCL in both Q3 and Q4 they think the City doesn't value their work. They noted that no city staff come to their meetings, and they don't receive feedback on their recommendations. Paragraph 134 is still in partial compliance until issues around the functioning of CRC are addressed and feedback is provided [p. 151].
--The COCL accurately states that despite there being a full contingent of 13 members of the
PCCEP appointed by the beginning of Q4, the two youth members did not attend meetings, and a
third person's term expired in December (143) [p. 159]. But two other people also resigned. By
February (Q1 2023) City Council only appointed enough people to fill 11 seats.
...AND THERE ARE SOME THINGS THE COCL IS NOT GETTING RIGHT
There are some items where the COCL puts forward an analysis with which Portland Copwatch does not agree, are factually incorrect, or which contradict other information in the Report.
--Referring to a figure showing the percentage of people in mental health crisis subjected to force, the Report says the rate has been "relatively stable between 17% and 19%" since 2019. But the 2021 number was 20% [p. 52]. Notably, no analysis has been done to explain why there was such an increase since 2018, when the rate was 12%.
--As noted above, the COCL once again put the Behavioral Health Unit Advisory Committee in full compliance prematurely. The BHUAC was supposed to have heard information about force/deadly force on people in mental health crisis in March, but that presentation was not even completed in Q1 2023 (95) [p. 96]. On p. 97, the COCL says they attended the March meeting and were impressed-- thus reporting on Q1, not within the scope of this Report, and thus insufficient to justify their compliance rating for Q4.
--In reporting on people who were taken off the list for follow up contact by the Behavioral Health Unit Response Team (BHRT), the COCL lists the highest categories as "concern mitigated" (21 people) and "unable to locate" (16 people). But the two categories of people being taken into custody-- jail/criminal justice system and civil commitment, add up to a total of 17 people when combined, leaving a false impression that custodies are the fifth and eighth highest reasons when listed separately (110) [p. 112].
--Similarly, the people turned away from the Service Coordination Team shows that of 63 people turned away, 23 lacked a criminal history and another 17 lacked "recent crimes," so fully 63% of those turned down to get assistance from this program were rejected because they didn't violate enough laws (112) [pp. 114-115].
--The text on p. 132 regarding how many officers are sent to their supervisors' attention due to being flagged by the Employee Information System (EIS) says it was at its highest in a year at 71.4%. But the table on p. 133 shows that number was 72.4% in Q2 2022 (118-119).
--Portland Copwatch pointed out that a chart representing officer alerts in the EIS has percentages ranging from 327% to 605% (118-119) [p. 133], which makes no sense since you can only have 100% of anything.*-5 The COCL explains that they simply reprint the PPB's charts without modification. If PCW were being paid what the COCL is paid (about $500,000 a year) there would be an investment in time (and software if need be) to be sure these charts make sense.
--The Report echoes the Bureau blaming the Citizen Review Committee process for making several misconduct investigations last longer than 180 days, but the CRC has not heard an appeal since June 2021 (123) [p. 138]. The PPB needs to be called out for such shenanigans.
--The COCL praises the ongoing work of advisory groups to the Bureau including the Alliance for Community Safety (145) [p. 162]. However, that group dissolved in January 2022 (Willamette Week, March 24, 2023). So where are they getting their information from?
--The COCL notes that surveys of Portlanders created in compliance with paragraph 149 were conducted "several years ago" [p. 169]. In reality, they were done in 2015 and 2016. The COCL continues to push for a survey of people who directly encounter police. There are two problems with this idea. First, the people who "encounter" police and end up face down on a sidewalk in handcuffs are unlikely to fill out the surveys. Second, a scientific approach would seem to be to put forward the same survey done previously to see whether anything has changed.
--A minor issue related to the COCL not catching up (and perhaps also related to their not being based in Portland): in the list of personnel on p. 194, Assistant Chief Brian Ossenkop is still listed even though he was replaced by Jeff Bell in October, and Training Captain Chris Gjovik was similarly replaced by Franz Schoening in Q4.
QUESTIONABLE ANALYSIS AND ACTIONS
Sometimes the COCL isn't 100% wrong and / or the Bureau's actions aren't clearly violating the Settlement Agreement, but issues arise which affect community trust.
--As was set in motion in previous quarters, the clinicians who ride with police officers on the Behavioral Health Response Team are now city employees [p. 7]. While this was described as a way to help with pay equity, it changes the dynamic of their perceived independence.
--The number of documents that have not been processed by PPB's Records Division has grown from 45,000 to 100,000 (128) [pp. 8&143]. It's reported on pages 185-186 that PPB hired three records people to work on body cameras, which aren't in place yet. Why aren't those people helping with the backlog?
--Part of the training for Public Information Officers is to "improve the image of the PPB." This section talks about "bullet points" in the slide presentation... maybe not the best word choice when talking about police. The values listed are "humanity, professionalism and competence." The training says all media should receive the same information, with no favorites (84) [p. 68] . Aside from the problematic promotion of spin doctoring around paid government agents who use force and can kill with impunity, the Willamette Week recently wrote on April 19 that the PPB is not returning their calls any more.
--It's not clear whether this is an advance or not, but the new form officers fill out to report use of force cut out the term "active aggression" and now just lists active or passive resistance. They also added "baton push" and "baton jab" but removed baton pry, control hold with injury, firearm discharge and static box-in (84) [p. 71]. There is no explanation; it seems they may be redefining what is considered force, which will throw off the long term analysis of force data. As a side note, they're also changing "sound/light distraction device" to "flash sound distraction device."
--In a training around Incident Commanders' responsibilities, officers spent just five minutes figuring out a scenario. They only briefly discussed what happens if there's an unexpected situation, without specific advice about how to make contingency plans. Also, no information was shared about how to debrief officers after an incident or write a report. On the bright site, it was emphasized that everyone needs to know who is in charge (84) [p. 72].
--While we would think about prioritizing to be sure nobody was seriously injured, whether officers followed policy and are separated so they don't conspire to tell a false narrative, the mnemonic given to commanders for a post-shooting incident is "CRCRC" which stands for cover, reload, commands, radio and check (for injury) (84) [p. 74].
--The Training plan apparently does not include the time or location of trainings, which can help identify when a session is not being held at a PPB facility (such as the one that used the biased training slides) (85) [p. 81].
--With the support of the BHUAC, the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) will no longer give out printed resource guides to persons who may be in need of services. Instead they will carry cards with QR codes on them (96) [p. 97]. On p. 98 it is explained that the police will use these QR codes to look up resources to refer people to, but it's not clear whether that will be helpful to people who don't have smart phones and might prefer something in writing.
--BHU members attended a conference about Crisis Intervention Teams and presented on "Empowering your community and building trust through community presentations" (109) [p. 110]. The irony of talking about making community presentations to a room full of cops-- and of the PPB boasting of empowering the community and building trust after multiple shootings/deaths of people in mental health crisis-- should not be overlooked.
--Perhaps this makes sense in some way if it's about prioritizing more serious allegations, but misconduct investigations apparently sometimes went over 180 days because they were intentionally delayed to focus on other cases (123) [p. 138]. Perhaps a better description would help.
--The COCL says they have seen several allegations made to on-scene officers about excessive force that were not sent for investigation by Internal Affairs or IPR. In one case, a witness said the force did not have to happen and the person wasn't aggressive. The COCL says the supervisors should be held accountable for not forwarding the cases (129) [p. 145]. But also, perhaps, maybe another suggestion would be to INVESTIGATE THE FORCE TOO?
--The Bureau's using a new Discipline Guide, known as the Corrective Action Guide. The COCL reviewed six "Corrective Action Recommendations," saying five showed the supervisors' reasoning, and one did not. The new guide was adopted in Feb 2022, but Directive needs to be updated by end of Q1 2023 or the COCL threatens to move paragraph 137 to partial compliance [p. 153].
--The PPB won't mandate that officers use their app to track community engagement because they don't want to discipline cops who fail to do so (145-146) [p. 163].
--On p. 172, the COCL calls for PCCEP trainings to be standardized (152), which is a reasonable idea. Those trainings used to include background on the Settlement Agreement given by the AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, but it's not clear that is happening any more.
--A sore spot for Portland Copwatch is the poor way in which the Bureau presents its annual reports at its three precincts and to City Council, with little to no promotion ahead of time and no feedback from the community sessions relayed to Council. The COCL mentions the annual report timeline including precinct presentations but doesn't say anything about the City Council presentation (193) [p. 183].
A CROWD BY ANY OTHER NAME WOULD STILL SMELL PEPPER SPRAY
--On p. 4, the COCL uses the PPB's new term for Crowd Control, the Orwellian term "public order," in reference to training (84). Elsewhere in the report it's explained that "public order" training includes info from the US Dept of Homeland Security Federal Protective Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency, even though during the 2020 protests, federal agencies used tactics disallowed by Portland Police. Reports studied included ones on "mass demonstrations and human rights." The Report describes a training held in January (Q1 2023) as being about crowd management-- not "public order" (79) [pp. 58-59].
COCL STUMBLES ON NEW OVERSIGHT BOARD ISSUES
Without providing much evidence, the COCL proclaims that there is "growing concern" that the Police Accountability Commission (PAC) is not working fast enough to design the new oversight system (195) [p. 12]. On pages 189-191, the COCL urges the PAC to focus on key tasks based on a City Commissioner urging the group not to take on more work. That is a reference to Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who had previously pointed to the transition plan as not in PAC's purview even though it is in the Council resolution directing the PAC's work. The COCL says "community members" also want PAC to work faster, with no examples.
Furthermore, the COCL describes just one of three documents adopted by PAC in Q4 at the end of its Research Phase, conflates PAC going up to 2.25 full time employees with IPR's ability to move faster to investigate misconduct cases, and (on p. 70) says the new system will be in place at the end of 2024. Following the timeline laid out by the Settlement Agreement, it's likely that date will be sometime in early 2025.*-6
The Report reminds the PAC that the proposal has to fit with the collective bargaining agreements and be reviewed by Council, PPA, the DOJ and the COCL, while acknowledging that the PAC held 17 meetings in Q4.
POTENTIAL EXPLANATIONS FOR SOME INFO
--The COCL calls out the police for not giving warnings before each kind of force they used in one incident because they felt the original warning was enough, citing Directive 1010.00 requiring a warning before using "any force" (70) [p. 39-40]. As much as we agree with the COCL's reading of the policy, it's probably a semantics issue, because to the police "any force" means once they start using force all is ok, while if it spoke about "each use of force" the officers would clearly have violated policy.
--The Report doesn't delve into why the PPB's Office of the Inspector General is advising that annual officer evaluations should have officers voluntarily report using skills of their Active Bystander training. The COCL only hints that mandatory reporting "could create problems" (85) [p. 82]. It's likely that is because the supervisor conducting the report may be the person who the officer turned in for potential policy violations.
ALSO WORTH MENTIONING
PCW has no deep analysis on these items but thinks the community should be aware of them.
--The Behavioral Health Unit is now part of a newly-created "Specialized Resources Division" (91) [p. 92].
--The Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team, which is specially trained to de-escalate situations involving mental health aspects, used force in 3% of their calls (105) [p. 107]. This is quite large compared to the use of force applied to all police calls, but is lower than the force-to-custody ratio which is just over 5% [p. 50].
--In this quarter there were either three or four complaints about retaliation; one was closed because the person was "unavailable." In other cases the COCL says the facts didn't support the allegations (130) [p. 146].
--Since 2020, the COCL has been urging the Bureau to do more about the disparities in demographics revealed in stop data, including fixing the search directive (which finally happened in August). They note that the stops app requires officers to give the reason for the stop (148) [pp. 167-168].
--The IPR is not finished with the investigations into whether supervisors are partly to blame for the ultraviolence unleashed on protests in 2020. The COCL says it's better to be thorough than fast (192) [p. 182]. PCW generally agrees with that concept but would point out that supervisors high up in the ranks are most likely to retire or move away from Portland for new jobs, so, the sooner, the better.
--PCW appreciates that in discussing the body worn cameras policy, the COCL mentioned the Graham Standard, which says officers have to use what they knew at the time they decide to use force, not 20/20 hindsight, (194). According to the Report, manufacturer Axon met with the PPB in Q3, but did not finalize plans in Q4 [pp. 185-186]
As the current team making up the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison is going to end its contract on or around the end of June, it's not clear who will be writing the next Report. PCW continues to appreciate that the current team gives insight into behind-the-scenes information that the Bureau doesn't make readily available, partly because they have no good outlet to do so and partly, presumably, because they are embarrassed. Even if the COCL is eventually replaced with a court-appointed monitor (as is being suggested in court hearings), the community's voices need to continue to be heard, and the Bureau needs to be continually pushed to do better. It's not clear why the Bureau is able to shrug off suggestions from the COCL which are directly related to the Settlement Agreement, but maybe being directed by a federal judge to comply will get them to be more cooperative in the future. The Agreement itself, as is often said, is not a remedy for all the problems with the Portland Police. But as its name implies, the City _agreed_ to make these changes and should stop stalling on putting them in place.
*4- The committee is made up of two members of each of: management of PPB, management of
Fire and Rescue, management of PSR and management of 911, along with workers for PSR, the
firefighters Association and the collective bargaining unit representing Portland Police and the 911
operators. The Portland Police Association represents both of those last two groups, so has four
seats at the table.
*5- As established in the movie "The Producers."
*6-Admittedly the PAC's timeline was extended in Q1 2023, but with the deadline now at August
31, the Settlement Agreement envisions: (a) City Council having 60 days to draft a plan (October 31
in this timeline); (b) the DOJ and the Court needing to improve the plan including changing the
Agreement as needed, which likely would not be until January 2024; and (c) the Board having a
year to be up and running as IPR finishes its work, so early 2025.
Portland Copwatch DOJ information page
Portland Copwatch home page
Peace and Justice Works home page
Posted May 10, 2023