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Not So Secret List

For years the Service Coordination Team has used a secret police list to identify drug offenders deemed eligible for treatment and housing. As reported previously (PPRs #46, #47, #48), individuals get on the list by committing certain violations, a certain number of times, in certain neighborhoods. While others who are not on this list have their crimes treated as misdemeanors, those at the top of the list are threatened with felonies unless they enter treatment.

In August, the City Council voted to pay nearly $1 million to Multnomah County to administer part of the program. Defense attorney Chris O'Connor questioned keeping the list secret and pointed out the historic damage caused by secret lists. Three of the four Commissioners present concluded that the list should not remain secret. The dissenter was Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman (Portland Mercury , September 3). Saltzman strenuously fought making the list public, alleging that doing so would violate people's privacy. However, he never expressed concern for the violation of the constitutional rights of those swept up by this program.

At its October 21 meeting, Council voted 4-1 to make the secret list public as part of approving another $1.2 million for the program. Saltzman cast the dissenting vote. While voting to publish the list, which he had previously denied as existing, Commissioner Randy Leonard took a swipe at those who believe the program is unconstitutional: "It's time to end this charade of allowing those who would attack this program for various reasons to hang their hat on the list" ( Mercury , October 29). We applaud the list being public, but we continue to have concerns including the lack of viable statistics regarding the effectiveness of the program, its racial bias and the question of its cost effectiveness.

A feature in the November 5 Mercury revealed that the program has cost $4.98 million over two years, and only 77 people have gone through rehabilitation. The article notes Commissioner Nick Fish's quip that he could solve 40% of the housing problem with just $1 million.

Another shadowy program created by Leonard along with Officer Jeff Myers is the "HIT squad," the Housing Interdiction Team that takes on properties Leonard thinks need to be shut down. Using police, fire inspectors and code enforcement specialists, they have shut down at least eight properties since 2003. Like the Secret List, the HIT squad was never formally adopted by Council, and indeed was only mentioned in Council documents by name for the first time in February, 2009 (Willamette Week, November 11).

  People's Police Report

January, 2010
Also in PPR #49

Lawsuits Include $175,000 for Gun Pointing
Chasse Case Stirs More Controversy
"Sidewalk Managment Plan": Sit/Lie 4.0
New Developments at "Review Board"
First PPB Shooting in 1.3 Years
6th Cop Leaves Force for Sexual Misconduct
Chief Gives Racial Profiling Plan to Council
Homeless Camp Outside City Hall
  • Cops and "Cops" Raid St. Francis Dining Hall
Not So Secret List
Legal Briefs: Driving Under Police Warnings
Quick Flashes #49
  • Taser Changes Policy: Chest Zaps Can Kill
  • New Sheriff Dealing with Scandals
  • Nazi-Loving Cop Back in Headlines
Rapping Back #49

Portland Copwatch
PO Box 42456
Portland, OR 97242
(503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.

People's Police Report #49 Table of Contents
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