Portland Copwatch Analyzes Compliance Officer Report on US DOJ Agreement
Table of contents
Still Getting it Wrong on Race
Accountability: Police Policing Police Will Never Be Procedurally
Force: De-escalation is Not Making Threats
PPB Ourtreach: Quantity is Not Quality
Assessing the Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing
Mental Health and Crowd Control
Missing Data: COCL Cursory Reviews and Numbers Not Presented in
a project of Peace and Justice Works
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Compliance Officer Assessment Report Continues to Ignore Lack of Progress by Portland Police
an analysis by Portland Copwatch, April 30, 2019
The Compliance Officer who analyzes the progress of the US Department of Justice (DOJ)
Settlement Agreement with the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) released an Assessment and
Compliance Report in April. The new Report (https://www.portlandcocl.com/reports/2019/04/02/compliance-and-outcome-
assessment-remaining-sections) seems to exist in a parallel universe to Portland where the
shooting deaths of people in mental health crisis and ongoing racial profiling do not occur. The
Report breaks with the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL)'s promised format of
examining certain sections in-depth every quarter, instead focusing on 27)*-
1 areas in which they previously said the PPB still needs to do work. Even though, as they
point out in the Report, there has been very little time since they assessed the Accountability and
Community Engagement areas of the Agreement, several paragraphs receive improved ratings.
Despite Portland Copwatch (PCW)'s scathing critique of both the Bureau's 2016 Stop Data report
on possible racial profiling and the COCL's defense of that report, the new Stops report is included
as further evidence of "progress" at the PPB. However, nothing has changed and the Bureau
continues to assert that African Americans are naturally being pulled over more because they are
more likely to be the victims of crime. As for people with mental health issues, who were singled
out by the DOJ in 2012 as improper recipients of excessive force, there is no mention at all that
there were seven deadly force incidents in just over three months in Portland from September 30 to
January 6, at least three of which involved the deaths of people in mental health crisis. Furthermore,
the OIR Group report on PPB deadly force which came out in February, during the time frame
covered in the COCL Report, showed deadly force against people in mental health crisis went up
from 55% to 65% after the DOJ Agreement went into effect.)*-2 The
COCL does not even review the Mental Health section of the Agreement, as they found PPB in
completely in compliance with those paragraphs in April 2018. The COCL's analysis of the Force
section of the Agreement indicates that they, like the PPB, still do not grasp the concept of de-
In addition to overlooking continued excessive force and profiling, the COCL also minimizes the
fact that the city's accountability system rarely finds officers out of policy for use of force, not
addressing statistics which were added to the Q4 Report showing 20% of all allegations are
"Sustained," but only 1.5% of Force allegations. In the amended Q4 Report, the COCL speculated
that was because the "Independent" Police Review (IPR) is required to investigate all Force
allegations, leading to 19% of those allegations being called "Unfounded" (the facts do not support
the allegation) vs. 11% of all other types. However, the 173% difference in Unfounded findings
doesn't explain the 1333% difference in Sustained findings for other allegations. Moreover, with the
final decision to find the City in full compliance with the DOJ likely within the next year, in the four
years to date,)*-3 the COCL has never analyzed the allegations
considered upon appeal by the Citizen Review Committee (CRC).
The COCL has moved two paragraphs from "Partial Compliance" and 11 from "Substantial
Compliance-Conditional")*-4 to "Substantial Compliance," furthering
PCW's previous concern that the COCL, City and DOJ are tired of monitoring the Agreement and
just want it to be over. Three other paragraphs were moved from Partial to "Conditional" while just
10 remained at "Conditional" and one at "Partial." Overall, this leaves just 14 paragraphs out of
roughly 110 action-related paragraphs which the COCL says still need work. As we have done with
the past two reports, PCW generated a meaningful scorecard which combines all the sections under
review and adds columns showing a summary of each paragraph's contents and the previous rating
to the COCL's scorecards; see
Before delving into the new Report, PCW wants to point out that only two entities are shown to
have commented on the COCL's Q4 2018 report on Accountability and Community Engagement:
our group and the League of Women Voters. While the COCL made two slight changes to that
report)*-5 in the sections on PPB annual reports and the outcomes of
complaint investigations, many responses were dismissive, bordering on unprofessional. In
particular, PCW's analysis of the PPB profiling data was met with the comment-- in the response to
public input, not in the final report-- that "there are many ways to measure disparities in police stops
and we encourage PPB to continue their dialogue with community members regarding the
methodology used to arrive at these findings.")*-6
In PCW's new analysis, find page numbers in [brackets] and paragraph numbers in (parentheses).
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STILL GETTING IT WRONG ON RACE
In our analysis of the Q4 2018 report we complained about failure to call out bias in the Bureau's
Stop Data collection analysis (148) and the COCL's praise of that work. For instance, the PPB
claimed that in 2016, the Gang Enforcement Team (GET) over-stopped white people and stopped
African Americans less than expected because 71% of gang violence victims are black, thus the
GET "only" stopping African Americans in 61% of their stops-- in a city which is 6% black--
shows restraint. These outrageous numbers are similar in the 2017 Stop Data , included as an
appendix to the new COCL Report, where 57% of GET stops were of black drivers, but the Bureau
claims this is again too low as the "gang violence victimization rate" is 63%. The overall data show
African American drivers are stopped by officers not in the traffic division disproportionately to
their representation in the population-- 22% of the people stopped, which the PPB shows is 1.4
times the "crime victimization rate" of 16%. Even using that questionable statistic, the PPB doesn't
find this to be a serious variation. They claim Traffic cops' stops should only be compared to crash
data, which show 11% of those involved in crashes are African American. But the overall stop rate
across the Bureau is 16%. If the reason for most stops is some kind of moving violation, which
would imply unsafe driving, thus related to the crash rate, then the difference is closer to 1.5 times
more than expected. Still, the basic, on its face fact is that people who make up 6% of the population
are being stopped 16% of the time, which is 2.7 times more than their representation, and the
Bureau refuses to do a meaningful analysis of why. A 2019 Stanford University study looking at
100 million police stops nationwide showed similar disparities, most importantly that 5-10% more
African Americans were being pulled over during the day than at night, when police claim they can't
see the race of the driver.)*-7
Moreover, the PPB's new format for the Stop Data is to show numbers over the course of five
years, so they dropped the 2012 numbers in the 2017 report. Noting precipitous drops in the
number of stops being made, blaming it on short staffing, they report little variation in percentages
from one year to the next. Perhaps by using the previous five years as an average, variations would
be more obvious.
Neither the COCL nor the Bureau addressed one of PCW's largest concerns, which is that the
pedestrian stop data suggest the police only stop about 25 people per month on foot or riding
bicycles-- a number which dropped to 16 per month in 2017. Assistant Chief Chris Davis admitted
at a community Body Camera forum that officers often will approach someone with a question such
as, "this is a high crime area, you're not involved in anything like that, are you?" which is not, in
most people's assessment, a form of "mere conversation." And yet the hundreds of times a year
officers conduct such fishing expeditions (probably with no reasonable suspicion of criminal
conduct) are not tracked anywhere. Odds are that Portland's African American population would
also be over-represented in those stops; even so, with just 192 stops reported in 2017, 34 or 18%
were African American. There is no "pedestrians most likely to be victimized" benchmark, and no
way to pretend officers could not see the race of the people they were stopping on foot. There is no
logical reason given why black people are stopped as pedestrians three times higher than their
representation in the population.
The COCL and the Bureau noted there was an over-reliance on consent searches (not based on
probable cause) but there is no indication this discovery led to any change in PPB behavior. The
new Stop Data report shows that 56% of probable cause searches turned up contraband versus 40%
of consent searches.
Despite all these shortcomings, the COCL moved the Bureau from "Substantial Compliance-
Conditional" on paragraph 148 to "Substantial Compliance" because they (a) added in data looking
at age, gender and mental health status (of which the most interesting statistic is that people
perceived to have mental health issues were searched twice as often as those without) and (b) the
Bureau delivered the data to the Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP).
Similarly, the Bureau is required to do a demographic analysis of each precinct to help them do
outreach and tailor their programs appropriately (147). The precinct data are included as an
Appendix in the COCL Report and show that the Bureau updates the numbers using census
estimates between 10 year counts. The COCL does not mention anywhere that the Training
Advisory Council has been demanding the Bureau put demographic data into the quarterly Force
reports required by the Agreement (in paragraph 86, already deemed in "Substantial" compliance so
not included in this Report) but the Bureau has refused. The most recent argument made by the
Training Division is that the census data would not be up to date; the data included in this Report
show that is not a reasonable argument. Regardless, the "conditional" aspect of paragraph 147 was
for the Bureau to deliver those precinct statistics to PCCEP, which apparently was done. However,
this was not done in a public forum, PCCEP has not discussed these or the Stop data, and so the
question of compliance becomes even more a question of quality vs. quantity when the COCL is
only checking off the boxes which the PPB accomplishes with no analysis of their impact.
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ACCOUNTABILITY: POLICE POLICING POLICE WILL NEVER BE PROCEDURALLY
The COCL emphasizes the idea of "procedural justice," which essentially means even if the
outcome is not in the community member's favor, at least they feel their concerns are taken into
consideration and the process is fair. The question of police conducting investigations into their
own alleged misconduct has been at the heart of community mistrust for longer than Portland
Copwatch has been around (which is 27 years this year). As PCW has noted in earlier critiques, the
rolling together of training for IPR and Bureau Internal Affairs (IA) investigators may create the
sense that all investigations will be conducted similarly, as the COCL keeps suggesting (128), but
doesn't account for the inherent bias of police.)*-8 Perhaps the most
telling problem with the analysis of whether IPR can now conduct "meaningful independent
investigations" is that the COCL's condition for finding Substantial compliance is to talk with
officers and supervisors about the system... there is no mention of talking to the complainants.
Interestingly, though, the COCL also points out that when the PPB presented in-service training to
officers about the oversight system, they did not include IPR to talk about their role in that system.
The COCL also notes [p. 52] one thing making it difficult for IPR to conduct meaningful
investigations is their lack of ability to access all PPB documents, since IPR is not a law
enforcement agency. With a shrug, the COCL accepts that this cannot be changed, rather than
asking the City to push for state law to be changed to allow true civilian oversight.
The COCL follows up on concerns about the alleged over-use of Supervisory Investigations (SIs),
which are for lower-level complaints which would not rise to the level of discipline if Sustained. The
Bureau and COCL complained there were too many of these complaints going forward, with 37 in
the first quarter they were used. While that does predict a higher use than the previous non-
disciplinary complaint categorization ("Service Improvement Opportunity") which was used 50-90
times a year, it would only have been about 150 cases, or two per week, in a Bureau with 126
Sergeants who could conduct these investigations, or barely more than one per Sergeant per year.
Apparently, many more are now being "administratively closed" (aka dismissed) or handled as
"precinct referrals," bringing the total down to just 18 in Q4. The problem with the precinct referral-
- and, to some extent, the Supervisory Investigation-- is the assumption (which the COCL supports)
that the Supervisor will make unbiased determinations about an officer under their direct command.
The Supervisors are called upon to contact the complainant to explain why the police do things in a
certain way, if the officer's action offended them but was not a violation of policy. This is similar to
allowing an abusive husband to say "I have to beat my wife because she didn't have dinner ready for
me when I came home. Doesn't that make sense?"
This may seem an extreme metaphor, but the COCL uses the example of a community member
complaining about a patrol car which was parked facing the wrong way. The Supervisor told the
complainant the officer was trying to avoid being seen by a person who had a weapon so they "took
the correct approach." But that isn't the result of a meaningful investigation, it is just more doling
out special rights for police to get away with violating laws and social norms.
There is also apparently concern in the Bureau that Supervisory Investigations are a "gateway to
discipline" since if substantiated, an officer has to go through a formal IA investigation upon a
second similar allegation being lodged in a short amount of time. This seems like a good thing
which the police should welcome to curb repeat bad behavior.
Side note: According to the Report, some Supervisors do not understand what the findings mean in
these cases. We assume this doesn't mean they don't know the meaning of "Substantiated" and
"Not Substantiated," but rather that they don't know how a Substantiated SI will affect an officer's
Related to the idea of "meaningful" investigations of misconduct, in the discussion of the creation
and audits of Force and After Action reports (74, 75 and 77), the COCL notes the auditors did not
have a form to note issues arising from investigated incidents which are about training, equipment,
policy and personnel issues. For some reason, even though Portland Copwatch and others have
pointed this out repeatedly, the COCL and DOJ do not seem to be pushing for those areas to be
considered as alternate findings in cases where the individual officer did not necessarily do
anything to warrant discipline (or other corrective action). Eileen Luna Firebaugh suggested similar
findings be used in her 2008 audit of the complaint system.)*-9 The
Citizen Review Committee suggested such an idea in their IPR Structure Review Report in June
2010 ("add three new findings of "policy failure, training failure, and supervisory failure,'"
recommendation section 1, page 3).)*-10 The Police Oversight
Stakeholder Committee made a similar suggestion in September 2010 ("Recommendation III-B:
Ensure that findings indicate a separate rating regarding the overall incident that would identify the
presence of any policy-related issues as that term is defined in Portland City Code [as opposed to
allegations regarding a specific Bureau member]. Recommended categories for this data are as
follows: Communication issues, Management issues, Training issues, Equipment issues and Other
policy-related issues.))*-11 Particularly since the COCL created a
form for the Bureau to use for identifying such issues, it is time for these to be considered as
possible outcomes for complaints.
The only other aspect of the accountability system reviewed in the Report is whether investigations
are being completed in 180 days. This is the only area of the Agreement which is still listed as
being in "Partial" compliance. In the last report, the COCL found misconduct investigations were
finished within the given time frame about 50% of the time, up from 30%. The new Report shows
the IPR Assistant Director went from being late 63% of the time to just 37% of the time, and IPR's
intake went from being late 49% of the time to just 27%. However, there is no meaningful
discussion of the fact that IPR's full investigations)*-12 went down
from 58% compliance to 55% while Internal Affairs meets the 180 day timeline 73% of the time
(also down, from 78%).
As a means to finish the Agreement, the COCL is suggesting categorizing complaints which may
"understandably" take more than 180 days, and perhaps exclude them from the overall requirement.
Related to the Accountability system is the Employee Information System, which by the terms of
the Agreement (and the Portland Police Association contract) cannot be used for disciplinary
purposes. Instead it is supposedly used to flag potential problem officers (116). As PCW
discussed in our analysis of the COCL's Q3 2018 report on the EIS, very few officers are ever
talked to about triggering alerts when they use more force or have more complaints filed against
them than other officers. However, a very high number of officers still receive attention when they
experience a "traumatic incident"-- something which still has not been clearly defined. Traumatic
incident flags lead to intervention 72% of the time, while force only leads to such supervisory action
34% of the time and complaints just 11% of the time. The COCL puts it mildly when noting the
11% figure is much higher than the previous 3%, but that is due to low overall numbers: in fact,
only 5 officers out of 44 who were flagged received some kind of talking-to.
The EIS is another area in which the COCL defers to officers' supervisors because they "know the
officers," in this case saying their relationship is better than the analysts' who generate the flags.
However, it is also more likely the supervisors will go easy on the officers, as proven in the previous
report where they admitted not coding interventions into the system for fear of it stigmatizing their
Even with all these problems, the COCL gives a "Substantial" rating to paragraph 116 which
requires the EIS data to be collected and used to flag these officers. It would seem logical that part
of the outcomes analysis should be whether the officers who receive interventions change their
behavior-- and whether those who do not get counseled keep getting flagged.
The other aspect of the EIS under review here is paragraph 117, which asks that the data be used to
see if there are patterns in certain units or under certain Supervisors. The solution here, again, is
lacking: it says that once a group is flagged as outside the norm on use of force, their commanding
officer and the Force Inspector can decide what to do. There is not a list of possibilities in the
report, leading to the question of whether the new Standard Operating Procedure (#47) on this topic
is equally vague. The only slightly hopeful part of this section is that if the Inspector thinks action
needs to be taken but the Supervisor does not (or, less likely, vice-versa), the Chief's Office has the
final say. There is no indication that IPR, the Police Commissioner or any other civilian is allowed
to be part of this process. Paragraph 117 is also given Substantial compliance because the
Supervisors "take a serious approach to responding to the trends identified by the Inspector" [p.
45]. There are, however, no examples of what is being done in the outlier units to fix problems.
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FORCE: DE-ESCALATION IS NOT MAKING THREATS
One issue where Portland Copwatch thought we were in agreement with the COCL is the Bureau's
misunderstanding of the meaning of de-escalation (67a). Because the Agreement defines that term
both to mean using verbal communication rather than Force _and_ to use less force, PCW has
repeatedly asked the Bureau to use the term "mitigation of force" for the latter. The COCL's Report
indicates the Bureau is drilling down even further, recognizing in most cases that ordering a civilian
to do something is not de-escalation-- though the numbers they present indicate that 20% of the
random cases they reviewed (4 of 20), officers got it wrong. However, the COCL's own analysis
shows they themselves are also unclear on the concept. Trying to prove a Canine Unit officer who
found it "necessary" to use command and control separated his de-escalation from his orders, the
COCL quotes the report: "I told the suspect in a calm voice that I didn't want him to get bit by the
dog and asked for him to announce himself" [p. 12]. You see, the problem here is by saying "I
don't want you to get bit by the dog" you are issuing what is called coercion, or even a threat, not a
verbal statement to gain voluntary compliance. Imagine if the officer said "I don't want you to get
shot by my gun." While that incident ended with officers backing off and waiting 30 minutes for
the suspect to turn themselves in, the language used should not be considered de-escalation. Using
their own logic, the COCL found this subsection in Substantial compliance.
In one case of a random 20)*-13 in which the COCL found an
officer's force to be unreasonable, outside the bound of paragraph 66a. It turned out the Force
Inspector also flagged that case and sent it to the Training Division, so the COCL found this
paragraph in Substantial compliance. One could argue it's a good sign the Bureau is finding such
problems on their own; however, two issues come to mind: First, the paragraph's intent is that
officers never use unreasonable force, and second, paragraph 67d (below) says officers should be
held accountable for unreasonable force. This implies the Inspector should have sent the case to
Internal Affairs, not Training.
With regard to the requirement for "corrective action up to termination" when unreasonable force is
used (67d), the COCL's previous concern was a well founded one, officers were not reporting as
force when they pulled the trigger on a Taser but the 50,000 volts didn't get delivered to the civilian.
The Bureau modified the Force Directive (#1010.00) but, according to the report, did not put the
new version into effect yet. The Bureau is still found in Substantial compliance because they claim
they _will_ discipline people in the future, even though the community has never seen an effective
punishment for excessive force. Basing compliance on future speculative behavior with no present
track record is not science (see more in "Missing Data," below).
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PPB OUTREACH: QUANTITY IS NOT QUALITY
The COCL, in both the Q4 2018 and the new Report, praises the Police Bureau's wide-ranging
efforts to do community outreach. The Agreement requires the PPB (along with the DOJ and
COCL) to come up with metrics to determine how effective the outreach programs are (149). As
with the previous report, the COCL here indicates "individual contacts to provide service" are forms
of community outreach. PCW wrote in all caps last time that traffic stops are not community
outreach-- to be clear, they are a form of law enforcement. Perhaps what the COCL means to say is
that the way officers behave when they are contacting the community, whether the person is calling
to report a crime or a suspect, is an opportunity to build trust through the nature of the interaction.
The metrics described [pp. 60-61] are for officers to (1) engage in an unbiased, respectful and
helpful manner, (2) open conduits for two-way communication, (3) show up at meetings and events,
and (4) report on their activities. They say these activities will lead to accountability, though it's not
clear how, except if officers are planning to confess to misconduct during the meetings. At the April
PCCEP meeting, PCW and others in the community made it pretty clear the Bureau cannot do
effective community engagement and outreach until some kind of truth and reconciliation happens
around past and current harms done to the community. Even though Former State Senator Avel
Gordly suggested this same thing when she sat on the Community Oversight Advisory Board, the
COCL does not seem to grasp the concept.
One of the two updates to the Q4 2018 Report was a note that the one time the Bureau has held
community meetings in each Precinct to present their annual report (150), many people in the
community did not get notification.)*-14 Thus, although PCW
suggested finding the PPB out of compliance for not producing annual reports, the COCL once
again gives them conditional Substantial compliance assuming they will hold those meetings, as
well as City Council meetings as required by the Agreement. The fact that this hasn't properly
happened in four years doesn't seem to be an issue. The COCL also seems to be ok with the
Bureau waiting to present the 2017 annual report at the same time the 2018 report comes out-- even
though the 2017 report wasn't finished until early February 2019. To add insult to injury, when
PCW tried printing the 2017 report from two different computers, neither one was able to make the
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ASSESSING THE PORTLAND COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY ENGAGED
In June, federal Judge Michael Simon will be hearing from the City, the DOJ, the COCL and others
about the general status of the Agreement and specifically whether the recently-formed Portland
Committee on Community Engaged Policing is adequate to meet the standards of the Agreement.
PCCEP's 13 members (three of whom have already resigned, with a fourth resignation set for the
end of May) were selected in September, and their first meeting was in November. In our analysis
of the COCL's Q4 2018 report, PCW noted how the Compliance Officer was ready to give high
marks to PCCEP based on the "anticipation" of their completing their assigned tasks. In the new
report, the COCL says PCCEP does not have to complete all of their tasks in order for the City to
comply with the Agreement (142). They claim PCCEP is "on track to function as a legitimate body
for community engagement" [p. 55]. It's important to note that one of PCCEP's few actual powers
is for them to request a certain PPB policy be reviewed for amendments, yet PCCEP has not even
made comments on a single PPB Policy (Directive) in its six months of existence.
While PCCEP is found in Substantial compliance for holding its meetings monthly (151),
paragraph 142 is still in conditional compliance until they complete some of their work including
the Community Engagement plan for the Bureau, forge a working relationship with the PPB (it is
not clear exactly what this means) and continue holding meetings. PCCEP's ability to make
recommendations is reliant on the four subcommittees they set up in February (on Mental Health,
Race, Youth and Policy). The COCL notes that in March, they attended three of the subcommittee
meetings-- including the group's Steering Committee-- where only the Chairs were present. This
was the second month where PCCEP even had subcommittees. Rather than re-assessing paragraphs
142 and 151 as in Partial compliance, the COCL says subcommittees are not required by the
Agreement. This is true, but again, is the goal to do a checklist or is it to do a qualitative analysis of
how the compliance is going?
Another shrug comes in their analysis of paragraph 144, which requires the City to provide
adequate staff for PCCEP. The Project Manager who had handled PCCEP's predecessor, the
Community Oversight Advisory Board, quit in late November, so the COCL says the job, which
was posted on March 18 for applications, needs to be filled to complete substantial compliance.
However, they say the community organizer position which was promised to PCCEP in its
founding document (
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/pccep/article/707077 at p. 5) is not required by the Agreement,
so once the first job is filled, compliance is Substantial.
The COCL gives conditional approval to the Bureau and PCCEP's efforts to improve community
engagement (145). As discussed in our analysis of paragraph 149, above, the COCL previously
listed police traffic stops as a form of community outreach; they also talked about police
responding to "delinquent youth" without arresting them. The new Report notes Chief Outlaw came
to two meetings (in November and March) and has plans to send Assistant Chiefs and Professional
Standards)*-15 personnel to Steering Committee and "Town Hall"
PCCEP meetings in the future. There is no indication whether the officers will be told not to wear
uniforms, which is problematic for some PCCEP members and many community members who
attend the meetings. The COCL points to the Chief's five year strategic plan, which will supposedly
encompass the Community Engagement Plan PCCEP is supposed to advise. However, PCCEP
only attended their first strategic plan meeting on March 27, and the Report indicates the plan will
be done by June, a very aggressive timeline considering PCCEP still hasn't received the data from
the community survey as required in paragraph 146.
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MENTAL HEALTH AND CROWD CONTROL
As noted in the introduction, the COCL did not even look at the Mental Health paragraphs of the
Agreement. Even if the City is in complete compliance with all the paragraphs, they have to remain
in compliance for a year before the DOJ's court case against the City can be dismissed. Thus,
especially since it has been a year from the time the COCL gave Substantial compliance ratings to
Section V on Mental Health, there should have been an updated assessment. In their analysis of
paragraphs 99 and 115, they say the Portland Police have an "excellent mental health response"
with the Behavioral Health Response Team, the Service Coordination Team and the ECIT meeting
the "intent" of those paragraphs, but again not providing any up-to-date statistics to support that
That said, there are hints in other places of what is going on. Most curiously, the data around which
mental-health dispatched calls are coded as having a Mental Health component (105) is very
confusing. It shows only 8-10% of calls had mental health components. The COCL hones in on the
fact that officers went from not answering that question about 24% of the time to just 5% of the
time (with a low of 2.4%). The COCL is focused on being able to gather the data (which,
technically is the focus of paragraph 105) but not why this number is so low, if the police keep
complaining about being the first line of response when these incidents only represent one of 10-12
calls for service.
In discussing how the Bureau needs to do more role playing around persons with mental illness,
peer intervention and other scenarios (84a-i), the COCL notes the Bureau has added valuing
community oriented policing and de-escalation into their in-service training for 2019. Apparently,
the Bureau is adding procedural justice as an aspect of crowd control training, where they are
emphasizing the importance of free speech and assembly and noting the Crowd Control Directive's
imperative to be neutral and avoid taking sides. Perhaps this is in part in response to the scandal that
arose when the Rapid Response Team's Lieutenant was found to be giving tactical information and
other support to right-wing groups. There is no discussion about the fact that one criterion for
determining if a person has mental health issues is if they are blocking traffic, which of course is
something many protestors engage in when not in a mental health crisis.
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MISSING DATA: COCL CURSORY REVIEWS AND NUMBERS NOT PRESENTED IN
The section on paragraph 128 on meaningful misconduct investigations brings up an issue which is
echoed in a few places in the report. In that section, the COCL says IPR told them letters sent to
complainants include the sense the police had positive intentions even when a complaint is not
substantiated. There is no indication the COCL looked at any of these letters to verify this claim.
The paragraph is only in conditional compliance, but this is not the reason for it.
Another example of unsupported claims is in paragraph 68f, where the COCL watched the officers
practice handcuffing a dummy between Taser cycles as required, and PPB revised the Directive to
cover such cuffing (of real persons). The COCL gives the Bureau Substantial compliance but (a)
the Directive, according to an earlier paragraph, hasn't been enacted and (b) there's been no review to
show officers are performing this function in the field.
With regard to Supervisors who are supposed to be held accountable if they fail to file an After
Action Report or conduct a deficient investigation (73b, 73d, 76), the COCL says no Supervisors
have failed, but there doesn't have to be discipline to prove compliance. They say the Bureau's
"methodology" is evidence things are working and give a Substantial rating without, at least not
according to the Report, checking these facts for themselves.
In terms of semi-annual reviews of officers' training records (81), the COCL says the database
which was set up means the PPB "can" do the reviews, but not that they are happening. The
Supervisors are supposed to check a box to confirm they did the review, but it's not clear that means
there is a way to know they did anything more than check the box. The Bureau is given Substantial
The heart of the Agreement is officer interactions with people in mental health crisis. The Enhanced
Crisis Intervention Team (ECIT))*-16 was supposed to go out to
more calls based on adding cases where there is an escalating risk of a person harming themselves
or others (99 and 115). The COCL says ECIT calls went up from 1159 to 1877, a 62% increase,
but then claims the proportion of ECIT calls to all mental health calls only went up from 12 to 14%
which is a 17% increase. While it is possible this is correct, without a larger explanation of the
number of calls and how these percentages were arrived at, it is hard to assess whether the COCL's
continued conditional support of the ECIT system makes sense.
Similarly, the examination of outcomes of ECIT calls vs. non-ECIT officers (also 99/115), where it
is noted ECIT officers bring people to the hospital more often than non-ECIT, talks about how new
training for the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) will lead to more ECIT officers
connecting people to services, but the entire analysis does not include any numbers. The BOEC
training is all the COCL says has to be done to move these paragraphs to Substantial Compliance.
Though these items are not data, there are also a number of terms which are confusing or not
defined in the report, including:
--Describing calls as being "cleared" before ECIT officers arrive (99) [p. 32], which presumably
means someone has radioed in to say there is no police response needed.
--The term "Risk Management" is applied to how the Bureau is looking for potentially problematic
officers using the Employee Information System (116) by looking at not just force, but also
complaints, sick leave, and other possible indicators of issues. It's not clear why this term is used
when "Risk Management" is the City's department which handles lawsuits, including those against
--Also related to the EIS, the COCL writes in paragraph 117 that the system may identify officers
who are "three or four standards of deviation off the mean" and adds that the "standard of deviation
threshold may be lowered based on the situation." This may make sense to social scientists, but it
means nothing to laypeople.
--In the charts showing how often different parts of the Bureau check the EIS regularly, the
abbreviations FED, FSD, PED, PSD, SSD/CIU, TOD and YSD are used, even though none of
them are defined in the text (check) or the glossary at the end.
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Once again, Portland Copwatch is concerned both about the ongoing behavior of the Police Bureau
and the failure of the Compliance Officer to recognize its shortcomings. When the Compliance
Officer was officially "divorced" from having a role as a "Community Liaison" because the COAB
became the PCCEP, it seems the out-of-town nature of this extremely important consultant's role
became more pronounced, as the COCL is hardly seen at any local meetings except when
presenting their own reports. There needs to be far more attention paid to the outcomes of the
changes being made, not just whether timelines are being met but indeed whether there is
institutional change taking place that is making our community safer.
*1-Plus the introductory paragraphs for Force (substantial) and Accountability (partial) which the
COCL has only recently been assessing.
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*2-See PCW's analysis of the OIR report at (
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*3-The COCL's first quarterly report was issued in May 2015.
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*4-a finding we have repeatedly claimed is misleading and which the COCL made up out of whole
cloth in 2018.
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*5-But the COCL did not make other simple changes, such as fixing the term "straw man" where they
meant to say "straw poll" in a discussion about PCCEP making a preliminary decision.
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*6-The COCL feedback document can be found at
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*8-IPR did itself no favors by hiring a former PPB Police Captain, Vince Elmore, to be an
investigator sometime in the last few months.
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*10-We were unable to find the Structure Review Report on line, but found this reference to it being
PCW can email a copy to those interested in seeing the report.
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*12-IPR has to rely on Internal Affairs to compel officer testimony, it is not clear whether that plays
into the delays.
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*13-It is not clear from the report if they used the same 20 case to look for de-escalation as they did
for unreasonable use of force. The COCL informs PCW that they are the same cases, representing
what they say are 10% of force incidents. That only represents one quarter of a year.
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*14-Because both the League of Women Voters and Copwatch included this as a comment about the
Q4 draft Report.
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*15-The COCL refers to the Professional Standards Division as the Office of Professional Standards
[p. 56], which is was called for a while until PCW and others pointed out the acronym for that is
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*16-The ECIT receives twice as much training in Crisis Intervention as the rest of the Bureau and is
called out for a specific subset of calls with mental health components.
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Posted April 30, 2019