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Rethink Police Panel Forms

Group forms to shape oversight

2/23/2021, 1:45 p.m.
Membership is an opportunity for people who want to have an impact on future policies and practices related to police ...
Jo Ann Hardesty

The Portland City Council is now accepting applications for Rethink Police Accountability, a volunteer group that will shape the framework and structure of a new police oversight committee approved by 82% of voters last November.

The process will be community driven and members of the group will be composed of community justice organizations, small businesses impacted by community safety issues, and people from over-policed communities, such as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), immigrants, refugees, people living with low-income, experiencing houselessness, and/or mental health or substance use, officials said.

Membership on the panel is an opportunity for people who want to have an impact on future policies and practices related to police reform. Potential members who are innovative, collaborative, and equity-focused or who like the idea of building something from scratch are encouraged to apply. Those selected should also plan for a committed minimum of four hours a month and to meet monthly on Zoom for 18 months, officials added.

“We have a lot of work and community conversations that must happen as we rethink community safety in Portland,” said City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “An important piece of building trust in our police bureau will be a system of oversight and accountability with a structure that centers the community the police are sworn to protect and serve.”

Mayor Ted Wheeler said its clear Portland wants a new and improved police oversight system and that they want regular Portlanders involved in making it happen.

“The city is responding to that clear demand,” he said. I encourage people who are innovative and dedicated to equity to apply to help us construct a new evolution of community safety rooted in improved trust, transparency, and accountability.”