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Continued Lack of Interest by Training Advisory Council
in Over-Policing of Black Community
PPB's Internal Group Also Drops Crowd Training Examination,
Urges Cops to Fire Less Lethal Weapons

Although the percentage of Black Portlanders having police force used on them was low for the second quarter in a row, neither the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) nor its Training Advisory Council (TAC) took note of this potential positive trend. The TAC, which meets once every two months, received the most recent data, covering the first three months of 2022, in July. At their May meeting, they elected relatively new member Nathan Castle to be their Chair and approved a letter urging officers to apply to train "grenadiers," people who launch less lethal weapons at community members during protests. The next meeting saw their work group on Crowd Control declare that the issue was far too complicated, so they were suspending their work until the Bureau proposes new training.

[screenshot of the online TAC meeting]The force data showed that 21% of those subjected to police violence in Q1 were Black, down from 22% the previous quarter and significantly down from the 25-30% average over the last half-dozen or so years. As a reminder, the TAC formally asked the Bureau to add demographic data comparing force statistics to the actual population, but the PPB instead includes a lengthy discussion of why census data is unreliable at the back of its reports as a "compromise."

The discussion of the grenadiers letter revealed that the Bureau was having trouble recruiting members to teach each other how to fire the weapons at people following the resignation (from their posts, not from the department) of the Rapid Response Team in 2021 (PPR #84). The Bureau's "Specialized Resources Division"* asked the TAC as community members to put out a call of encouragement. Member Gina Ronning, who also sits on the Focused Intervention Team (FIT)'s Community Oversight Group, revealed that they used language like "grenadier" (rather than something less militaristic) because officers failed to respond to community pleas to join the FIT when it was written in plain language. Once they translated it into cop-speak, they had more applicants than positions. PCW encouraged the TAC to include both kinds of language so the police might eventually learn how to communicate with the public. Because comments are not taken until the ends of meetings, the issue had already been decided.

According to the document with the draft letter, the TAC is also working on a statement to encourage officers to appear "not in uniform embedded in crowds in order to maintain situational awareness and identify individuals who are engaging in or encouraging violent behaviors." PCW's comment was that when protesting, one should expect the person next to you is there to hold up a picket sign and join the cause, not to be an undercover cop.

At the July meeting, the TAC spent considerable time modifying the motion made to suspend the Crowd Control work group by putting in a specific timeline. The Bureau has been unable to finalize its Crowd Directive or make meaningful changes to the training because they refused to conduct a thorough analysis of the 6000+ uses of force at the 2020 racial justice protests (see article in this issue). That analysis is a prerequisite set by the US Department of Justice. The City has said they expect the outside review of the 2020 protests, done internally by the PPB both in early and late 2021, to be ready in January 2023, over two and a half years after the protests began.

Side note: The Lieutenant who presented the force data in July was not Peter Helzer, the most recent person using musical chairs to be the "Force Inspector" (PPR #86). However, Lt. Matt Engen was merely filling in for Helzer, who was not available for the meeting.

* Apparently this is the new name for what used to be called the Tactical Operations Division.
Back to text.

For more information on TAC go to portland.gov/police/tac

  [People's Police Report]

September, 2022
Also in PPR #87

Portland's New Gang Team Shoots at Three
  • Ongoing Trend of More Deadly Police Shootings in OR
DOJ Lambastes City for Failures to Comply
Dubious Ideas from Gang Team Advisory Group
Staff Leaving More Independent Police Review
  • IPR Annual Report Continues to Lack Adequate Info
Oversight Commission Begins Research Phase
Inhumanity Towards Portland's Houseless People
Sheriff: No Discipline for Offensive Coin
More Protest Violence Suits Cost City Big Bucks
Biased Force Use Ignored at Training Council
Quick Flashes PPR #87:
 • Suit for City Records Has Unintended Consequences
 • Ex-Cop Who Rammed Suspect Pleads Guilty
 • Forest Grove Cop Convicted for Vandalizing BLM Signs
 • PPB Traffic Stop Data: More People of Color Targeted
 • Bunch of Cops on "Brady List"
 • Copwatch Helps Thwart Scams by Transfer Officers
 • Keaton Otis Remembered, 12 Years Later

"Constitutional" Sheriffs: Troubling Trend
Police Ask Input: Crowd, Force, ID Policies
Rapping Back #87

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 #87 Table of Contents
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