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Community / Police Relations Committee Gets Into the Community

After many months of meeting inside the Police Bureau's North Precinct (and receiving criticism for it), the Community/Police Relations Committee (CPRC) began a deliberate practice of getting out into the community with their March meeting. CPRC, part of the Human Rights Commission, is tasked with continuing the work of the 2007-8 Racial Profiling Committee. As such, the work plan they devised in January indicates their intention to revisit the Bureau's Racial Profiling plan, though the information shared at their meetings indicates that work is not a priority. For instance, traffic stop data for 2011 still have not been brought to CPRC, much less the data for 2012.

The March meeting was held at the NE Coalition of Neighbors, not far geographically from North Precinct, but symbolically miles away for folks who would not otherwise attend. At the February meeting, several people (including members of Portland Copwatch) mentioned that besides the location, it is distressing for people who have experienced misconduct to be in a room with armed police officers. Because many of the cops involved in CPRC do not come in uniform, it had not occurred to some Committee members that they were sitting next to people wearing firearms. This shows that while the CPRC is breaking down barriers and fostering dialogue, it is easy for the community members to become so comfortable chatting with police that they forget the concerns that drew them to the table in the first place.

The February meeting included a brief discussion of community outreach in which Commander Mike Crebs acknowledged it is good to talk to people skeptical of the police as well as "police cheerleaders." Also, though Baruti Artharee, the Mayor's police advisor, left that meeting early to attend a news conference discussing the shooting of Merle Hatch (article), nobody on CPRC discussed the shooting until it was mentioned during public input. Their responses were interesting, including the officers' new mantra of wanting to keep the investigation clean (that's why they released the information about Hatch's criminal record?) and strong words from community members about how it reverberates like an earthquake when this kind of incident happens.

Captain Pat Walsh, in charge of implementing the Dept. of Justice Agreement within the Bureau (article) has been keeping the CPRC up to date, somewhat, on changes being made and court proceedings.

Officer Natasha Haunsperger resigned from the CPRC in March; the cops proposed that Captain Chris Uehara, guest speaking at that meeting about a talent show for youth being sponsored and judged by the cops,* take her place. Uehara was involved in the beating death of Dickie Dow in 1998 (PPR #19) and last year was put on notice that if found one more time to be "dismissive of women," he could face serious discipline (Oregonian, January 10, 2012).

The April meeting was set up by new community member Ken Brown at the Q Center in North Portland. There was a short presentation on the "Q Patrol," a GLBTQ community effort to prevent bias crimes by walking weekend nights in the entertainment district. However, the Q Patrol has close ties to the police, so it is unclear what they will do if they witness an act of police misconduct while "on duty."

*PPR readers: Some of us find this idea creepy, others not so much. What do you think? Email us at copwatch@portlancopwatch.org
  People's Police Report

May, 2013
Also in PPR #59

Police Shoot Two More People
  In Mental Health Crisis

Community Given Seat At Table
  As DOJ Agreement Moves Forward

Other Shootings in Oregon
FBI Entrapped Teen Convicted
CRC Reviews Three Cases
Second Terrorism Report Falls Short
Developments Favor Copwatchers
PPB Director Resigns After Scandal
CPRC Gets into the Community
Reckless Cop Costs City $61,000
Not Shaking Hands With Cops
Exclusive PPB Training Meetings
  • Pervocop Demoted
  • More Buisness Alliance Vs. Homeless
  • Community Action Causes Sheriff to Change
Quick Flashes
  • Video Proves Police Reports Wrong
  • PPB Officer Accused of Harrasment
  • Deputy Sued for Harrassment
  • Cop Reinstated on Technicality
Rapping Back #59

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.

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