Foxworth's Foxhole:
Portland's Police Chief Hears a Few ideas from Outside the System

Portland Copwatch Meets with Foxworth

Introducing ourselves to the third Chief of Police since our formation in 1992, volunteers from Portland Copwatch met with Chief Derrick Foxworth in early March. (For a report on our meeting with Chief Kroeker, see PPR #21).

The good news is that home-grown Chief Foxworth liked our proposal that every time a Portland Police Officer has an interaction with a citizen, they should offer a business card. The idea came from Los Angeles, where a 1980 special order requires officers to give out cards when a person is detained but not charged with anything. Chief Moose never did anything with the idea. Chief Kroeker claimed that since he promised not to bring any Los Angeles style policing up here, he couldn't adopt that policy. But then, why did he bring up L.A.-style crowd control and bad relations with communities of color?

We communicated to the Chief that our goals are a Police Bureau free of corruption, brutality and racism, goals he said he shares although maybe our means of getting there are different.

We also asked Foxworth to consider restricting the use of Tasers only to incidents in which deadly force would be justified, sharing a memo by the ACLU of Colorado (see Tasers article).

Foxworth had Captain Darrell Schenck of the Internal Affairs Division (IAD) sit in during the conversation. Schenck re-emphasized that although the Tasers are included along the spectrum of force in the same category as batons, the PPB no longer considers this a "continuum" of force since they want officers to be able to jump from "mere presence" to deadly force and skip the other levels if necessary. We're not convinced this is a good idea.

Foxworth also said he was going forward with plans to set up internal review bodies for Use of Force, Performance, and Collisions, each with some kind of civilian membership. We noted that any such change should include at least consultation by the Citizen Review Committee (CRC) and the Independent Police Review Division (IPR), not to mention a City Council hearing for the public to have input before any new review bodies are created.

The Chief was reluctant to promise that when officers from other jurisdictions come to Portland to police special events, they should follow PPB procedure and have visible name tags on their outermost garments. He said he would raise it in discussion but was reluctant to tell other agencies what to do. Again, this was a disappointment since the PPB gives directions to other agencies regarding arrests, use of force, and other tactical decisions.

As expected, this Chief--whose background includes being the Public Information Officer--showed an eagerness to listen, a reluctance to make waves, and tried to tell us, to the extent possible, what we wanted to hear. The Chief seemed interested in keeping a channel open for dialogue, so if any of the readers of the People's Police Report are interested in any specific issues, please let us know. We are hoping that any future discussions will come with plenty of lead time, and we have made it clear that we are not negotiating on behalf of the community, just putting forward some ideas that have come up in our organization.

Send your comments to us at or PO Box 42456, Portland, OR 97242.


People's Police Report #32 Table of Contents
People's Police Report Index Page
Return to Copwatch home page