It looks like Portland City Council is poised to pass an ordinance crafted by Commissioner Randy Leonard and Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade that will strengthen independent review of the Police Bureau.
Next week, City Council will consider an ordinance that will strengthen the Independent Police Review Division, giving it power to compel officers to participate in investigations and give it a greater role in meting out discipline of officers.
The ordinance is intended to do the following, according to a press release issued earlier today by Leonard and Griffin-Valade:
· Strengthen IPR’s ability to do independent investigations
o Give IPR subpoena power to compel witness testimony and the production of evidence
o Establish the authority for IPR to initiate an independent investigation, whether or not alleged misconduct involves a complaint from a community member
· Strengthen IPR’s authority in cases investigated by the Portland Police Bureau
o Require IPR approval before an investigation is closed or sent to Police Bureau command staff for disciplinary findings
o Allow IPR to challenge the post investigatory findings or discipline recommended by Police Bureau managers
· Replace the current Performance Review and Use of Force Boards with a more transparent “Police Review Board”
o Establish IPR as a voting member of the Board, allowing them to make recommendations to the Chief of Police regarding findings and discipline
o Require the Board to publicly report the basis for their recommendations
o Establish the Auditor’s authority to recommend to City Council community members to serve 3 year terms on the Board
Leonard has had an uneasy relationship with the Police Bureau, and has been quick to point out that the city pays out hefty sums of money to settle lawsuits brought against it from the actions of police officers, but the bureau has never imposed discipline on officers at the heart of the suit.
In the wake of the death of Aaron Campbell, an unarmed black man who was shot by an officer after a tense standoff, frustrations with the Police Bureau have been high, leading some police critics to think that reform could be within reach.
The Oregonian reported today, that Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman is amenable to improving the oversight system, and Mayor Sam Adams indicated on his Facebook page that he supports the ordinance. =”http://www.theblueline.com/images/or-portland%20optimized.jpg