Almost a year after promising quick action on dozens of long-sought police reforms—and months after promising to address further concerns raised by community and accountability groups—Mayor Sam Adams’ office this afternoon will finally release a draft report that lays out the Portland Police Bureau’s response to the exhaustive passel of proposals.
The report goes point-by-point through ideas broached in four separate reports/missives with advice for improving either the police oversight process or restricting how and when officers use force. Two are from the Citizen Review Committee (Read their report here), with another from the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Justice and Police Reform, and the last from a group of advocates convened last year by Commissioner Randy Leonard (Read their report here).
But according to a copy of the 44-page report obtained by the Mercury, few of the most controversial or dramatic proposals aired by advocates have been embraced. Most, in fact, appear to have been gently rebuffed:
The CRC, which considers appeals in police discipline cases, would not be able to consider new evidence when making its findings. Neither the CRC nor the Office of Independent Police Review, which has been given unprecedented access to misconduct investigations, would be able to compel officers to testify in hearings or independent probes. Officers would not be tested for drugs if they kill someone or send someone to the hospital. And the bureau affirms its current policies on using deadly force and less-lethal weapons—rejecting suggestions to tighten them.
The final report is due before council later this month. The mayor was scheduled to present the findings to the AMA at a private meeting earlier this morning, and Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese will also personally present the report to the CRC at a public meeting in city hall November 9.
And although the report is likely to disappoint many advocates, it does throw them a handful of significant bones. Some of those changes are already in place—like new protocols for releasing investigative materials and working more closely with the IPR—while others, like stronger reviews for officers who use force and giving CRC members another year to serve, are in the works.
The report restates the bureau’s new “step back” policy on dealing with the mentally ill and others who might be armed and dangerous. And it confirms that the police bureau is looking to outfit its cruisers with cameras—budget permitting.
On some proposals, though, the bureau uses some stretchy logic to get away with saying it “agrees” with advocates, even when that might not necessarily be the case.