People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Training Advisory Council Notes "Us Vs. Them" Attitude,
In March, the Training Advisory Council (TAC) voted on issues to use as a basis for recommendations to the Portland Police Bureau. The only one that had to do with the substance of the training was a comment that instructors seemed to be perpetuating an "us vs. them" attitude between police and community members. Interestingly, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) raised the same concern with the Bureau in a February memo about the 2015 "in-service" trainings. While the DOJ went further and raised concerns about the focus on firearms use without an emphasis on de-escalation tactics, and the use of "military imagery" during scenario training, this is a big step for the TAC. In January, they had a (very lengthy) presentation from Officer Paul Meyer on the Bureau's Use of Force policy, and a (very brief) presentation about the quarterly force statistics report from Lt. Steve Jones, the "Force Inspector." Still, their meetings continue to be heavily dominated by discussions on how to structure their timelines to make recommendations, rather than how to stop police from racially profiling, using excessive force, and other concerns that led the their creation in 2012.
Meyer is the (former) advisory member to the Community Oversight Advisory Board who filed complaints against three community volunteers on the Board (PPR #67/article)
In his presentation, Meyer referred to the report in which City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero pointed out that only one officer was able to articulate the Bureau's policy clearly (PPR #66). His comment was that "this doesn't look good," but it wasn't clear if he was trying to refute her findings or to explain why the policy was included in the most recent "in-service" (where all 900 or so patrol officers receive 40 hours of training on various issues). The Compliance Officer/Community Liaison noted in his October semi-annual "outcomes report" that only 30.5% of cops think the Bureau's Force policy is clear.
The March discussion was focused on the Use of Force training curriculum, and much time was spent talking about learning methodologies (talk about "learning objects," for example) and ways computers could be used to improve delivery of training. In addition to their concern about "us vs. them," they also came up with the idea of making the Bureau's list of Directives easily accessible on a smartphone, as no handbook version has been published since 2009.
The Training Advisory Council meets on the second Wednesday of every other month, write to email@example.com for more information.
When the TAC started, there were four or five African American members. At the March meeting, there were none.
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.