Portland Copwatch Analyzes "Independent" Police Review Division 2012 Annual Report

Table of contents
Nothing Up My Sleeve: Looking in the Wrong Places or Leaving Out Information
A Mixed Bag of Material
Sketchy Information Raises Questions, Leads to More Work

Portland Copwatch
  a project of Peace and Justice Works
  PO Box 42456
  Portland, OR 97242
  (503) 236-3065/ Incident Report Line (503) 321-5120
  e-mail: copwatch@portlandcopwatch.org

by Dan Handelman, Portland Copwatch, May 31, 2013

In late May, the Independent Police Review Division (IPR) released its 2012 annual report (see http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=27727&a=449483). The report continues to shrink each year even though IPR's responsibilities have grown. More importantly, IPR's deliberately choosing twists of language and focusing on certain aspects of the accountability system while glossing over others, combined with the continuing lack of analysis in these reports, seem deliberately crafted to draw attention away from the system's failures. While this year's report includes new examples (unlike last year's cut-and-paste), and is better organized to represent the flow of how cases move through the IPR system, it still requires too much work on the part of the public to get a real idea of the state of police misconduct and how it is addressed in Portland. Below is an analysis from Portland Copwatch (PCW) of the 2012 report.


--Shutting the Community Out of Deadly Force Investigations

A primary example of how the report is being used to mask IPR's shortcomings is the description of how IPR interacts with the Bureau after Officer-Involved Shootings (OIS) and In-Custody Deaths (ICD). The 2010 report noted that IPR was able to "observe and participate in investigations of OIS and ICD." Last year, our analysis remarked that the report "only referr[ed] to their ability to respond to the scene and participat[e] in 'policy reviews.'" PCW took this to be a reference to the Police Review Board (PRB) and outside experts looking at "Policy-related issues" as defined in the ordinance about broad rulemaking ideas and "not pertaining specifically to the propriety or impropriety of a particular officer's conduct" (3.21.020 U). However, this linguistic change was a lot more significant: It is a legal effort to justify the fact that IPR does not allow civilians who have been shot at by police (or their surviving family members) to file complaints about alleged misconduct or appeals of PRB findings on deadly force cases.

By describing what is clearly an investigation into possible officer misconduct as a "mandatory policy review conducted by [Internal Affairs]... to determine whether the involved officers and supervisors complied with Police Bureau policies and training," IPR is excusing the fact that they are afraid to investigate such cases or allow the 9-member volunteer Citizen Review Committee (CRC) to hear appeals on them. The IPR's position was made clear on this matter in September 2012, when Director Mary-Beth Baptista told the lawyer advising Fred Bryant, the father of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) shooting victim Keaton Otis, that Mr. Bryant could not appeal the PRB findings. Significantly, Baptista cited the Portland Police Association (PPA) contract as excluding IPR from having any authority in OIS/ICD investigations (section 62.1.3), yet as noted by Bryant's attorney in her response, the Director sits on the PRB and votes on whether officers committed misconduct. The 2012 Annual Report reiterates the fact that IPR staff now responds to the scenes of all such incidents. The report also states as fact that "IPR does not have the authority to conduct an independent investigation in an OIS or ICD," though that statement is not supported by a close reading of the ordinance.

The new report also, like the 2011 version, leaves out reporting on the status of the specific OIS/ICD incidents, mentioning once again that such information can be found in the IPR Director's monthly reports, but not providing a link to that information. There is a half-page left blank in this section which could have been used to update the public on these most important incidents.

--Use of Force Complaints Relatively Steady, Findings Favor Cops

In 2011, there was a 50% increase in Use of Force Complaints after much enthusiasm that there seemed to be a downward trend. In 2012 there were 56 complaints (compared to 63 in 2011), making the average over the last five years 53 (PCW analysis, not IPR). Of all the allegations levied against Portland Police, 11% were about Force, the same as 2011 but up from the 6-8% in the previous years. PCW wondered whether the violence at Occupy Portland protests had caused the upward trend. Perhaps the violence at 2012's May Day and November 3rd protests similarly contributed to these new numbers, but IPR does not make mention of these incidents.*1 While there was a mention of 28 Occupy-related complaints in 2011, there is no report on the status or outcome of those cases in the new report.*2

Similar to force complaints, the overall number of complaints in 2012 (413) is roughly equal to the average of the past five years (416) though IPR does not bother to do this analysis either.

Although there were three "Sustained" findings on Use of Force allegations in 2012 (after no officers were found out of policy in 2011), only 0.65% of force complaints by civilians have been sustained since the institution of the IPR in 2002. In contrast, 11.11% of internal complaints about force by police against other police have been sustained.

Similarly revealing is that the finding of "Unproven"*3, indicating a "he said/she said" scenario without enough evidence to support either side's story, was only used in 7% of Force allegations (and 9% of community complaints), while "Exonerated" (meaning the officer was in policy) was used in 86% of Force cases and 69% of the time in general. At face value, such findings indicate an implicit bias toward the police, supported by the flipped numbers when investigating officer-initiated complaints where only 3% of allegations are "Exonerated" but 37% are "Unproven." This is particularly unsettling as previous years' "Unproven" findings were 33% (2011), 42% (2010) and 51% (2009), indicating that officers' words are now more than ever being believed over civilians'.

Meanwhile, as if to prove the point, 60% of the Bureau allegations investigated were "Sustained," a much higher rate than when civilians are involved. However, none of those complaints were about Force, Disparate Treatment or even Courtesy; they only fell into the two categories of "Procedure" (15%) and "Conduct" (85%).*4

As has been their habit, IPR claims a high Sustain rate for community complaints, this year at 45% since 17 of 38 investigated cases had at least one "Sustained" finding. (That number was 26% in 2011 and 37% in 2010). But the reality is that only 2.9% of all allegations (26/888) were Sustained. While this is an improvement of previous years (where the rate was around 2%), PCW understands most review authorities have higher sustain rates. Incidentally, looking at Sustained allegations only among those cases that were investigated, the rate was 21% (26 of 125 allegations), still far lower than the implied 45%, and those findings involved just 17 of 417 cases that were processed, so one could say that just 4% of cases had sustained findings. Once again, a casual reader of the report would walk away with disappointingly high expectations if they failed to conduct the analysis PCW has done here.

--While Bureau Moves Forward on Race Issues, IPR Stagnates

Even though the Portland Police have begun training about institutional racism and acknowledged that the disparity of people of color subject to traffic stops could be the result of race/bias, the IPR has continued its trend of minimizing complaints of Disparate Treatment. There has still only ever been one case of Disparate Treatment sustained in IPR's 11-year history (in 2007), while last year only two allegations (of 34 filed) were even investigated, both ending in "Exonerated" findings. The number of investigations into racial profiling has been declining (it was 13 in 2009). IPR did itself no favor in two incidents the CRC heard in 2013 by dismissing one such allegation before Internal Affairs (IA) received the case file and allowing IA to decline the other. Even after CRC voted 5-2 to ask for IPR to investigate the Disparate Treatment allegations in the second case, IPR refused to do so, claiming CRC has no power to make such a request.*5

It seems as if the claims of racial profiling are not being handed over for full investigation, most likely under the IPR's authority to determine they "cannot prove misconduct" (more below). If merely to improve their status in the community as caring about such issues, IPR should have the allegations investigated even if the result were to be "Unproven" findings.

As noted in previous years, IPR does include a statistic showing 20% of the people filing complaints are African Americans in a city that is 6% black. Meanwhile, the Community Outreach section is heavy with information about the Slavic community, which according to 2008 data make up less than 4% of the population and about whom there has been very little indication of police profiling or misconduct. Even though the IPR's Outreach Coordinator lists several African American organizations among her contacts, and the "Race Talks" forum which included the participation of the CRC in November, it seems as if there should be more attention focused on the communities most in contact with the police and who are complaining the most.

It's also worth mentioning that the Outreach section still does not include specific concerns relayed back to IPR through the outreach process, one of many instances where examples could make for a more meaningful report. Such comments do appear in the monthly Director's reports and could be summarized here.

--Community Feedback and Department of Justice: IPR Gets Failing Grade

In 2011, IPR ceased its practice of soliciting feedback directly from people who had filed complaints with them, choosing to rely entirely on a community-wide survey conducted by the Auditor to receive satisfaction information. That survey continues to show IPR as never having over 50% approval ratings, with their 2012 positive rating at 35%. (Interestingly, the closest thing to a direct link is included for this survey.) IPR never examines the data which repeatedly indicate lack of confidence in their agency. PCW again asks that IPR conduct surveys of people who actually have used IPR's services to determine how well the system is satisfying public need.

Meanwhile, IPR devotes a whole section of the new report to the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation which found "there was reasonable cause to believe that the [P]PB engages in a pattern or practice of unnecessary or unreasonable force during interactions with people who have or are perceived to have mental illness." While IPR discusses some of the changes outlined in the City's Agreement with the DOJ to remedy those issues, they ignore the DOJ's letter of findings which called Portland's accountability system "self- defeating" and "Byzantine."

They appear to have conflated part of that letter, which challenged IPR's dismissing cases they believe could not be proven even if a full investigation were to happen ("cannot prove misconduct" in IPR's inappropriate parlance), with the Agreement, stating that the DOJ Agreement "requires a more in- depth and complete investigation" prior to their decision to dismiss a case or have it fully investigated.*6 They correctly state, though, that the Agreement calls for there to be a plan for IPR to "conduct meaningful independent investigation" while leaving it up to IPR to decide when to do so. As noted many times previously, IPR has never conducted such an investigation since its inception despite their theoretical ability. They also note that the DOJ asks for a higher standard of evidence to dismiss Use of Force cases (though they don't mention that standard will be "clear and convincing evidence" as opposed to "a preponderance of the evidence") and that all investigations be completed in 180 days.

For reasons unexplained, again perhaps to draw attention away from the seriously flawed system, IPR never mentions in the report that the DOJ Agreement calls to expand the Citizen Review Committee to 11 members, give them the ability to order more investigation be done by IPR or IA, and, much to the CRC's chagrin, directs their appeals process to be completed in a scant 21 days of that total 180 day timeline.*7

The report inaccurately states that the PPA filed a motion to block approval of the Agreement--while that language was used by the Oregonian, the actual substance of the motion was a request to intervene in the lawsuit that led to the Agreement seeks to resolve, a motion that was granted in January 2013.

--High Dismissal Rate and Low Investigation Rate

A new record was set as IPR and IA dismissed or declined a whopping 82% of all cases in 2012; 323 dismissed outright by IPR and another 18 declined by IA, up from about 75% in the previous two years (but way up from 45% in 2002).

Once again the narrative addresses the IPR's 77% rejection rate but not the additional declines, which make it so a person's chances of having their complaint investigated about 1 in 10. While those are lousy odds, it is a slight improvement over 2011's 1:11 chance and 2010's 1:13. And again, IPR misleads by implying 33% of cases are investigated-- that is the percentage of cases IA investigates upon receipt. Of all cases filed, just 9.6% received full investigations. So a casual observer reading the report might see the IA's internal improvement over an average of 25% investigated in the past 5 years, and think their chances are nearly four times greater of having an investigation (33% vs. 9.6%) than reality dictates.

Furthermore, as noted previously, the "cannot prove misconduct" reason for dismissing cases (really, that IPR believes additional investigation will not lead to a Sustained or Exonerated finding) has risen from 16-18% in 2010-2011 to an alarming 25% of all dismissals in 2012. This ill-advised category is unfair to invoke without IPR speaking to the officers involved (or having psychic powers). The example listed in the report is about a man who was arrested after allegedly causing a disturbance at a bank and failed to comply with officers; because he had caused other disturbances IPR dismissed the case. Such inattention to people with frequent police contact could make them fair game for officers to do anything and never have their conduct investigated.

Perhaps the IPR and IA attitude is best summed up in their explanation of when IA will conduct an Administrative Investigation: "When there is a reasonable likelihood that a formal administrative investigation would produce enough evidence to sustain a disciplinary action against the officer." If IPR truly seeks to build trust, a better protocol would be "when the result of a formal administrative investigation, regardless of the outcome, will provide a community member and police officer with closure regarding alleged misconduct, even if one party disagrees with the outcome."

--Continued Over-Use of Non-Disciplinary Complaints

As in the previous five years, the majority of cases turned over to IA were handled not as full investigations, but as "Service Improvement Opportunities" (SIOs)*8, with 53% of adjudicated incidents ending with manager-officer discussions rather than formal findings or discipline. (That's 16% of all the cases that came in the door at IPR.) The high use of this procedure may explain why IPR chose to flip the narrative order in two places in the report, putting SIOs ahead of full investigations.

The most common use of "SIOs" is for rudeness complaints, as it has been for several years--not surprising as that has been the number one allegation every year since IPR started. One wonders whether IPR has done anything to influence the Bureau to train its officers better, since these informal counseling sessions don't seem to be changing officer behavior.

IPR's report once again skimps on the details after reporting Inadequate Communication and Inadequate Action/Assistance as the #2 and #3 most common SIO allegations, then showing #4 to be the "Next Four Allegations Tied." How much more space would it have taken to list those four in a footnote? Were they the next four most-used allegations from previous years, of unprofessional behavior, threats (which should probably not be considered non-disciplinary and was the #4 topic in 2011), failure to identify and profanity?

Confusing the issue of who conducts the investigations, IPR lists in its screening decisions that it can refer a case to IA "with a recommendation for a SIO" or handle a complaint as a "Formal Administrative Investigation." While true, the latter decision currently relies on IA to compel officers to answer questions, even while IPR is present, since the PPA's contract states that only PPB members will conduct investigations into misconduct. Since IPR is clear that "Service Improvement Opportunities" are handed over to IA, why not also explicitly note that it will be the police, and not the "Independent" agency a person files their complaint with, who will be investigating other police?

--Still No Sign of the "Ratings"

After considerable discussion at the 2010 Police Oversight Stakeholder Committee, IPR and the Bureau agreed to add notes to investigated cases regarding issues raised by the incidents not related to individual officer misconduct, such as Communication, Management, Training, Equipment and Policy-related issues. However, IPR has still made no public report on either the system created to track such "Ratings," nor a statistical summary of how often they are used, much less a list of the issues identified.

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Even in the above section, PCW acknowledges that some of the IPR's report does address important information head-on. However, such information lacks context or sometimes is even undermined by its location in the report. Here are some other examples:

--Some Limitations and Exceptions Noted: External Factors Include Collective Bargaining and Elected Officials

For the third year in a row, IPR refers to "employment law and applicable labor agreements" which lead to some of the limitations on the oversight system's ability to dispense justice. PCW supports continuing to make note of such issues, but encourages IPR to work harder to change the circumstances that bind them. For example, neither law nor labor agreements are keeping the City from changing the Citizen Review Committee's standard of review from "reasonable person" standard to something less deferential, yet IPR (and the Auditor, whose office oversees them) argues to keep the status quo over and above the CRC's objections.*9

Buried in the narrative of the CRC's Appeals is a paragraph acknowledging tensions between IPR and CRC. "In one of the appeals heard in 2013, CRC twice requested additional investigation. IPR and IA declined the recommendation. The Police Commissioner [Mayor Sam Adams] intervened and directed IA to conduct the additional investigation."*10 Unfortunately, this narrative leaves off a few important details, such as the circumstances of the case-- a man's elbow was dislocated by an officer who chased the man down for lack of a rear bike light-- and the connection between intervention by the Mayor and the DOJ Agreement's provision for CRC to direct such investigations in the future (see above).

--No Efforts to Improve Timeliness of Investigations?

In the appendix to the 2011 report, IPR called attention to the two areas in which investigated cases were being dragged down from coming to timely conclusions: IPR intake investigations and Police Review Board hearings. While the latter improved mildly in 2012, from a mean of 112 days to "just" 95 days, IPR's intake, as noted by the new report, has grown. A process that used to take 18-27 days now takes about 39 days, or well over five weeks to complete. There is no mention of a plan to address this issue, though a phrase implying the intake procedure takes "a few weeks" was deleted from a footnote in the body of the report.

While that narrative error was fixed, the City's report claims that IA investigations take "approximately 9- 10 weeks," yet the appendix shows the 2012 figure was 11.5 weeks (81 days), and moreover the average over the past five years has been 85 days (12 weeks).

PCW continues to encourage IPR to leave in the aspirational goals which are, among other things, written into Police Bureau directives, particularly as the DOJ has now directed that the entire process-- including the PRB hearing--should take 180 days. (PCW supports CRC's concern that appeals should both be excluded from the 180 day timeline and not limited to a 21 day period.)

--IPR and CRC's Roles

PCW has noted above several instances in which IPR's role is inadequately described. One mild change to the 2012 report improving over previous years is a mention clarifying that IPR can sit in on investigations of officers: "IPR participates in the interviews of the involved officer(s) and witness(es), and has access to all evidence gathered during the investigation." However, IPR staff clarified to PCW that this sentence, despite its implications, does not mean that IPR is sitting in on every case, only that they have the ability to do so. This description should be made clearer in the future.

The report eliminated a phrase that acknowledged the IPR staff may decide not to refer certain allegations to IA for investigation even if the whole case is sent forward. Since that is a matter of concern in two above-referenced CRC appeals, it is odd that the narrative now does not include that function of IPR.

Also changed is the description of IPR's intake investigation, which used to separate two steps: determining the type of complaint and then interviewing witnesses. Unless the process has truly changed, IPR often dismisses cases after*+ an initial phone call, so the new description that implies the investigators always interview witnesses before deciding how to handle a complaint may not be accurate.

In the section describing CRC hearing appeals of misconduct cases, the report says CRC "has unrestricted access to IPR's and IA's investigation." The previous report more accurately described CRC's access to the investigative files. It would certainly be a more rigorous system if the civilian review board could sit in on any part of the investigation, but that day seems far off.

While it is true that the CRC, as described in their chapter, is advisory to the Police Bureau, Auditor and IPR, the vague description in the introduction makes it seem as though they are only advisory to IPR, something PCW called attention to last year after CRC's powers were slightly expanded. Even at that, their ability to advise the Bureau has always been present, and the reports never seem to acknowledge they also make recommendations to City Council.

While some details about CRC's work groups are included in the report-- the specific Protocols amended by CRC after recommendation by the Appeals Work Group, the two public forums held by CRC's Outreach Work Group and the fact that the Taser/Less-Lethal Work Group's final report had 11 recommendations-- many details are missing. In the above examples, the kinds of changes made to the Protocols, the number of people at the January 26 forum and the content of the concerns at both forums, and any example of the Taser recommendations are all absent. And again while there is a reference to the IPR/CRC website, no specific URL is given to find the reports despite the inconsistent way in which the reports are posted. There is also no mention that the notes from the CRC's two forums are posted on the website (under CRC's Ongoing Projects).

Unfortunately, one useful feature of the 2011 report was not carried over into 2012, which was a list of guest speakers at CRC meetings. In January and February 2012, Chief Reese and Deputy City Attorney David Woboril talked to CRC about how the Bureau engages with officers from multiple jurisdictions. Woboril also addressed the changes to the IPR ordinance and new court decisions on Tasers. In July, two officers and a human rights office staffer discussed intergroup dialogues on race. PCW would still like to see CRC hearing from more community groups about their ongoing interactions with police. It is almost as important, though, for IPR to share the information that CRC does receive via the annual report.

The new report includes mostly appropriate narratives on the three appeal hearings CRC held in 2012, one about a man (Mr. Tran) who said officers threatened Taser use while he was handcuffed (which CRC unanimously affirmed was "Exonerated" or within policy); one about a man (Mr. Jones) hit with a Taser after an altercation at a restaurant (which CRC voted to change from "Exonerated" to "Unproven" with a 7-2 vote); and one involving a woman (Ms. Slade) who said she was roughed up by an officer after he unlawfully entered her home (which the CRC upheld as within policy in a 5-2 vote). Unfortunately the terminology of "sustain," "affirm," and "challenge" becomes quite confusing, and the report mentioning that "the officer was sustained for the improper entry" on the final case should have said "the Bureau previously found the officer out of policy for the improper entry." That would clarify that CRC was not considering an appeal of that allegation.

In each of the first and third cases, some CRC members reluctantly upheld the Bureau findings while cursing their limited "reasonable person" standard of review; IPR would do well to spell out the narrow scope of the review to explain why CRC agrees with the Bureau some 80% of the time. Instead, they use the term "supported by the evidence" which implies CRC is using a "preponderance of the evidence" standard.

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In other areas, IPR doesn't delve into the information it does have even when it might benefit them to do so.

--Mediation Underused

When a civilian, involved officers, and appropriate IPR and Bureau staff agree, a complaint may be resolved through Mediation, a process for officers and complainants to talk with a professional mediator present. While this can be an important tool to open officers' minds and change behavior (see, for instance, the report back from a Portland Copwatch member on his mediation at http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/PPR58/mediation_report58.html ), IPR shows that only 6 cases were sent to mediation in 2012, less than 1% of all complaints. Previously between 8 and 25 cases were sent to mediation in 2006-2010 (2-4% of cases). There is still no analysis of why so few mediations are now occurring-- if civilians refuse, officers refuse, the mediation fails, or other reasons.

--Declination Example: Deference and the Dependent Police Review

As noted above, IPR's 2012 report does include new examples in places where 2011's report copied and pasted the previous year's, which is a welcome improvement. However, the example listed for Internal Affairs declining to investigate a case causes concern. IPR turned over a complaint in which a woman thought an officer accessed her DUI records in order to spread the information about her, and IA reported back that they looked in the Bureau's proprietary database and "initial evidence suggested he had not," so the case was dismissed. Since IPR apparently did not have the ability to double check this "initial evidence" or seek further evidence, the example leaves the lingering question about how dependent IPR is on the Police Bureau to look into misconduct complaints.

As a side note, previous reports have noted that if IA declines to conduct an investigation, IPR can open their own case. The new report leaves off that piece of information. PCW's past critique of including this notice has only been that IPR has never done an independent investigation; their lack of having done so should have been added to the report, rather than removing the reference to the possibility.

--No Requests for Reconsideration Accommodated?

In cases where IPR dismisses a complaint, civilians may make a "request for reconsideration" (even though that is not spelled out explicitly anywhere in protocols or the ordinance, and PCW believes such a request should be handled as a CRC appeal). While the 2012 report indicates that 21 people made such requests, there is no mention that any of them resulted in a changed outcome. This is not terribly surprising, as only one case moved forward in each of 2010 and 2011 despite 13 and 15 people protesting their dismissals in those years. However, it would be helpful for the report to explicitly state whether any requests to reconsider were granted.

--Tort Claims

As with the 2011 report, there is no indication of how many of the tort claims (lawsuit notifications) examined by IPR led to full investigations or "sustained" findings, only that four such cases were opened out of 163 claims. Apparently 29 of the 163 people already had filed complaints with IPR along with their legal claims (up slightly from 26 in 2011).

--Top Allegations 2008-2012: A Public Service Chart

PCW continues to track the most frequent allegations over time even though IPR stopped doing so. As mentioned above, Rudeness was back on top for the 11th year running; Failure to Act was second and Force was third each for four years now. (Note: Force was #2 in 2006-2008).

[Chart of top
allegations 2008-2012 image]
("Inadequate Communication" new in 2011- includes older categories such as "fail to provide info")

--Police Review Board Barely Mentioned

Even though the IPR (a) was instrumental in the formalization of the Police Review Board in 2010, (b) can force a PRB hearing by "contravening" a Bureau commander's finding on an allegation or proposed discipline*11, and (c) sits as a voting member of the PRB, its annual report continues to gloss over the work of this important but very secretive body. IPR mentions PRB's twice- annual reports (but doesn't give a link to them), doesn't explain the composition of the PRB, and doesn't publish otherwise unavailable statistics such as how often PRB recommends discipline.

--Discipline: Backlash from the Frashour Case?

IPR has had an inconsistent history about publishing the names of the officers involved in police shootings and their victims, though that trend has changed significantly since the departure of Auditor Gary Blackmer in 2009. Though there is no mention of the shootings that actually occurred in 2012, there is a whole section devoted to the status of the 2010 Aaron Campbell shooting, in which the young unarmed African American man was shot and killed by Officer Ron Frashour. Frashour was fired, but ordered reinstated by an arbitrator in early 2012. The PPA cried foul on the City, saying that the discipline was based on political pressure put on the Training Division Lieutenants who wrote the analysis saying Frashour was out of line. The Auditor conducted an investigation and found no evidence of such tampering, but, as noted in the 2012 report, recommended a protocol be developed for training analyses so they will be consistent in the future. Strangely, though the Frashour investigation names two IPR staff members (Assistant Director Constantin Severe, who will be taking over for Baptista in June, and "Assistant Program Manager" Rachel Mortimer), there is no mention of IPR involvement in the annual report.

After the Mayor and Chief were rebuffed on firing Frashour (though the City has appealed the arbitrator's decision), it seems that Portland has become reluctant to terminate officers. For the first time on record (going back to 2006), no officer was fired in 2012. One was demoted (Captain Todd Wyatt, whose demotion was decried by both Baptista and the CRC since the PRB had recommended termination in a 5- 1 vote), 12 were suspended, 15 received reprimands (well above the average of 8 per year) and 13 had command counseling (also a previous average of 8). Also, 3 resigned while investigations were pending into misconduct. Interestingly, despite the lack of any terminations, the overall number of disciplinary actions was up to 44 from the average over the previous six years of 33.5.

Unfortunately, IPR has not heeded PCW's recommendations to connect the discipline imposed to the type of misconduct, which would benefit both the officers (who often think the discipline is too harsh) and the community (who often think it is too lenient). It could also serve to inform the "discipline matrix" the Auditor recommended in her May 2012 report on "police organizational learning" and is part of the DOJ Agreement.

--Precinct Referrals: A Separate Disposition?

IPR used to track what they called "precinct referrals"-- incidents which did not necessarily need to be investigated or dealt with as non-disciplinary complaints, but which they felt were significant for some reason to alert to supervisors. Of the 323 dismissals, IPR referred 30 (9%) to commanders, down from the past two years' 14-17%. Still, this is not the same as an outright dismissal and perhaps should once again be tracked separately. Those people whose complaints may make a difference, however slight, should be counted differently from those which are, in essence, thrown in the trash.

--Two Trends of Lesser Importance

Deep in the appendix are two pieces of information that show some changes in contacts with IPR about misconduct complaints. One is an increase of 50% in the "under 24" age group filing complaints, up from 43 in 2011 to 65 in 2012. Again, this could be related to the police attacks on various protest actions, but it is difficult to know. The other is that phoned-in complaints, while still the plurality of those received, were down by 10% last year, while walk-ins went from 5% of contacts in 2007 to 13% in 2012, more than doubling. That's particularly interesting given the prevalence of cell phones and the ability to file complaints on line.

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PCW appreciates that time and effort were put in to make this year's report better organized and more up- to-date than the last one, but continues to be frustrated by the misleading way some data is presented, the lack of contextual analysis (which would be preferred to conjectural claims made by IPR in earlier reports) and the amount of work left up to volunteer community members such as ourselves to supplement the work of the paid IPR staff. The lack of other information which can be found in quarterly reports is reminiscent of previous Director Leslie Stevens, who didn't put out annual reports and sarcastically recommended stapling together four quarterlies. Perhaps with the three new "investigators" being hired by IPR the next report will be able to be more substantive, or if the situation changes properly, the report will include details on those new staff members conducting true independent investigations for the first time in IPR's history.


*1-IPR has, however, added a new category among Bureau divisions generating complaints called "Large events/multiple precincts," which they say led to 12 complaints in 2011 and 23 in 2013.
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*2-The only mention of Occupy Portland is in the "Citizen Review Committee" section, noting that many people who spoke at the Committee's January 2012 forum were from that movement.
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*3-PCW still does not endorse the use of "Unproven" to combine the previous categories of "Unfounded" and "Insufficient Evidence"; PCW continues to support the 2008 Luna Firebaugh, 2010 Stakeholder, and 2012 DOJ reports' recommendations to return to those former possible findings.
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*4-The Bureau's top internal complaints were Unprofessional on duty (#1), Other conduct (#2), Unprofessional off duty (#2), Untruthfulness (#4) and Use of position for personal gain---new to the top five this year (tied at #4).
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*5-IPR appears to be mistaken: Deputy City Attorney David Woboril explicitly said CRC does have that power when he addressed Committee in February 2012. http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=57086&a=406304 (page 4)
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*6-IPR may be interpreting the Agreement's directive to end duplicative interviews by IA and IPR as a call to do more thorough intake, though that doesn't necessarily mean such interviews would all happen before a case handling decision is made.
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*7-The DOJ Agreement as written also locks in the CRC's "reasonable person" standard of review and prohibits appeals of shootings and deaths cases.
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*8-PCW also continues to object to the use of the term "SIO" rather than the clearer, more descriptive, "Non-Disciplinary Complaint." PCW applauds IPR's using the words non-disciplinary complaint once again in their narrative, though.
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*9-Last year PCW noted the Auditor had not returned to any CRC meetings after disregarding CRC's request to change the standard of review; aside from introducing out of town guests at one meeting, her snubbing of CRC continues.
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*10-Actually, the votes taken by CRC in the case in question, as well as the Mayor's intervention, happened in 2012, even though the case was finalized in 2013.
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*11-It is new information in this year's report that the director can send a case back if she disagrees with the proposed discipline. This is a useful authority.
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*+-Our initial analysis used the word "during" to emphasize that initial intake at IPR does not always include interview of witnesses. PCW apologizes for any confusion.
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Posted May 31, 2013, updaed June 4, 2013