People's Police Report
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O'Deas of our Lives Portland Chief Lays Low While PCW Awaits Word Back
Since taking the reins of the Police Bureau in January, Chief Larry O'Dea has made numerous public appearances, spoken to the media, weighed in on important discipline matters (article) and overseen responses to protests and civilian-involved shootings (article). One thing he hasn't done is show back up at the Community/Police Relations Committee, on which he was an original member but had to step down upon being promoted; that group has been floundering about for direction for months (article). Another thing he hasn't done is respond to Portland Copwatch, either to the letter we sent following our February meeting with him (PPR #65), the list of good and bad things we observed on May Day (article), or the various recommendations we've made about police general orders (article).
In a follow-up letter we sent on July 16, we restated our concerns about crowd control/May Day, police treatment of homeless persons, body cameras and more. The letter gave us an opportunity to let the Chief know that by using the Bureau's website, we were able to identify the Lieutenant in charge of the Criminal Intelligence Unit-- which oversees the officers involved in the Joint Terrorism Task Force-- as Jami Resch (#37142). We still have no idea why the Chief refused to name her publicly in light of the Bureau's claims of transparency and community relationship building.
In regards to the crowd control issue, we noted that in June, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan commented on a settlement made for protestors who were subjected to various misconduct by Washington, DC police years ago at a World Bank protest. The settlement "effectively prohibits the 'trap and detain' kettling tactic and use of police lines to encircle demonstrations; prohibits mass sweeping arrests [by requiring] probable cause before arrests at free speech activities; and ... for a dispersal order, requires fair notice and warning to demonstrators as well as opportunity to comply with police orders to disperse" (Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, June 23). We hope the Chief will institute such policies here.
If you're a Portland Copwatch supporter and you think we deserve a response to one or more of our missives, please call the Chief's office at 503-823-0000 and let him know.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.