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Portland Copwatch Continues Commenting on Bureau Policies

After the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) fixed its notification system for the public to know which Directives (policies) have been posted for comment, Portland Copwatch has continued weighing in with witty and insightful remarks. Several policies touched on questions about possible police spying, referring to the state anti-spying statute ORS 181A.250 (also see JTTF article). Many of those posted in May had to do with warrants and arrests. Overall, there are occasional instances where the PPB followed advice sent by PCW, but usually these are minor language changes or other technical errors. When the policies themselves are improved we are sure to thank them. Here's a sampling of what was up for review and PCW's main observations:

May: The PPB seems to have fixed their loophole which previously allowed officers to help federal immigration agents block traffic to enforce immigration law in the "Contact with Members of Immigrant Communities" Directive. They also improved how they let people know about constitutional rights. However, they continue to leave the word "solely" in three places where it should be "solely or primarily" when describing the purpose of police interactions.

In various policies on Arrest with Warrant, Arrest Without Warrant, Citations in Lieu-of Custody, Search Warrants and Premises Entry, PCW pointed out concerns regarding arrests for misdemeanors, mass arrests, and the authority for police to damage property-- particularly in contrast to when community members damage property. On that note, emergency entry into private premises is only allowed if it prevents the destruction of evidence, rather than the older broad term of "serious harm to property."

[May 15 Zoom event]The first mention of the anti-spying statute came up in the Air Support Unit Directive, which lists "public order events" as one main purpose of the Bureau's airplanes. PCW suggested a clearer policy restricting gathering information on First Amendment activity.

June: PCW continued to urge the Bureau not to allow so much leeway for cops to lie in the "Truthfulness" Directive. A separate policy about local transit system Tri-Met tells officers not to enforce violations if people fail to pay their fare, which PCW praised as a good step forward.

The anti-spying statute was cited again in their new policy about "Investigative Use of Social Media," which seeks to require officers to report when they pretend to be someone else or otherwise gather information on community members as part of an investigation. The public comments showed that many officers were offended at the idea that they had to document their potentially nefarious (and illegal) actions.

July: Arrest with and without Warrants and Citations came back for second review, with some improvements matching proposals made by Portland Copwatch. The policy on Civil Holds came back with some good edits including removing the word "inebriates" as a noun, as PCW suggested.

The Training policy, previously posted in August, came back two months after the "Training Dean" Dr. Rebecca Yazzie was hired (see DOJ article). There are several mentions of her job-- Director of Police Education (DOPE-- whose idea was that?). The Bureau should balance between updating the policy to note that her job exists and letting her put her own imprint on it. One major improvement after a PCW comment: the Bureau moved up to the start of the policy the requirement that training and policy must match.

The website to find the posted policies is portland.gov/police/directives.
  [People's Police Report]

September, 2023
Also in PPR #90

PPB Officers Kill Again After Short Break
OR Law Enforcement Deadly Force Down a Bit
DOJ May Agree to Court Monitor for Portland
$150K+ More Paid for Police Protest Violence
 • "Restorative Justice": Indictment Dropped for Brutal Cop
Oversight Board Plan Ready for Approval
Independent Police Review Investigations Lag
2023 Review Board Report #1: No Deadly Force
City Council Criminalizes Camping
City Audit: PPB Spying Lacks Proper Rules
State Discipline Commission Prints Guide
Better Force Data Promised to Training Council
More Copwatch Comments on Bureau Policies
Quick Flashes PPR #90:
 • PPB Annual Report Missing Deadly Force, Race
 • Traffic Stop Data: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics
 • Immigrants Seeking Safety Denied Special Visas

Updates PPR #90:
 • Police Ass'n Compromises On Body Cam Pre-Review
 • Commanders Fix Oversight, Officers Get 43 New Positions
 • Police Drones Now Cruising Portland Skies

Rapping Back #90

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 #90 Table of Contents
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