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Minor Miracle on (Non-Community Interactive) Policy:
For Once, Bureau Agrees with Copwatch Comments
Response on Wellness Dissimilar to Profiling, Conduct,
Weapons, Spying, Towing Directives

When sending them in, Portland Copwatch (PCW) noted our October comments on the Bureau's Directive (policy) about Officer Wellness were very short, mostly because the Bureau took action on all three comments we made in July. It is uncommon for the police to be responsive to PCW's input-- rarely on policy issues, sometimes on typographical ones, almost never on deeper issues about why police are given so much authority to bring harm to community members without consequences. Our group has continued to comment on Directives rather than leave the officers to perpetuate their world outlook unchecked. Here are some of the policies PCW commented on since the last issue.

[screenshot of meeting]August: In one of the rare adoptions of our comments, the profiling ("Bias-Based Policing") Directive contained two insertions of language to be clear targeting someone in part because of their race can be as bad as doing it only for that reason. They changed the word "solely" to "solely or primarily" in two places, while PCW pointed out at least one other similar edit which still needs to be made. The changes, we noted, now match language which already exists in the Discrimination Directive, on which we also commented in August. The Bureau still did not adopt a slew of other comments including improving the definition of profiling.

The PPB also made some progress in implementing PCW's suggestion to prohibit officer use of profanity in the Conduct policy, but left a loophole around "the totality of the circumstances" without recognizing how profanity escalates situations. The officer who killed Robert Delgado admitted using profanity, for example (see the Shootings article in this issue).

Other policies that month included Laws, Rules and Orders (ignoring our comments on collective bargaining units being able to overrule policy), Performance Evaluations (dismissing our comments out of hand in a previous cover memo), and similarly not including suggestions on Directives about lawsuits and weapons.

September: The PPB brought back what was to be a new Directive in 2018 about managing their intelligence files. PCW's comments in 2021 were very similar even though the draft was considerably different, such as: there is no mention of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (see the article in this issue), the policy allows police to judge themselves about complying with Oregon's anti-spying law, and sharing files with outfits like the FBI which the PPB might have to destroy, but other agencies do not. They also put forward the "Authorized Use of Bureau Resources" Directive which has similar "the 'union' has final say" language to the Laws, Rules and Orders policy.

October: PCW's July comments on the Wellness Directive were: to include language about how officers taking care of themselves can benefit the community, not to suggest being well includes "thriving financially" but just being grounded in balancing one's personal checkbooks, and not to require how much wellness time is for physical workouts. The PPB did adopt all three, but the new October version attempted to display care for the community by describing police actions as "customer service." As we have said many times, people generally aren't going to the "police store" to buy goods, so the term "community interactions" is better. The officer in charge of the wellness program thanked PCW for the comments at the Training Advisory Council meeting (see the article in this issue).

November: More important words of support came from Michael Bigham, a retired Port of Portland police officer and former chair of the Citizen Review Committee, who echoed PCW's comments on the Bureau's vehicle towing policy in an email which went to the recipients of our original analysis. PCW reached out to Bigham because the Bureau backtracked on progress they had made based on CRC recommendations to the tow policy made in 2007 (PPR #43) and still hasn't done more to, for instance, protect people who are living in cars from having them towed. The Copwatch comments also continue to ask the Bureau to figure out whether people of certain races/ethnicities are having their cars towed more than others. November also saw a post of a new draft of the Employee Information System Directive, last sent out in May, with almost no changes at all.

Overall, the work around these policies is similar to the broader work of trying to create a Bureau free of corruption, brutality and racism: slow moving and rarely rewarding. But, as we often say, so long as we have police, we have to find ways to hold them accountable.

  [People's Police Report]

January, 2022
Also in PPR #85

2021 Portland Police Shootings Quadruple 2020
  • State Deadly Force Incidents Taper Off in Second Half of 2021
City, DOJ Hash Out Remedies for Failed Compliance
Council Votes to "Re-fund the Police"
Lawsuits: City Pays Out More for Protest Actions
Citizen Committee Punts Whistleblower Case
Commission to Design Oversight Board Meets
Chief Overrides Review Board to Punish Two Cops
Houseless Community Faces More Private Security
Force Data Ignores Race at Training Council
Sheriff's Last 12 Months Start w/Vax Card Scandal
Organizers Set for Testimony on Terror Task Force
Bureau Agrees with Copwatch on One Policy
Updates PPR #85:
 • Almost No Progress on Police Association Contract
 • Suit: Former Police Assoc. Head Leaked Unconfirmed Info
 • Revamped Gun Team Forming; Profiling Numbers Unchanged
Rapping Back #85

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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