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Ever wonder what all these things are we're talking about in our newsletter and on the website?
Here are some (we hope) helpful definitions:

  • Portland Police Bureau (PPB):
    The City of Portland's police department, because of our Commission form of government, is called a "Bureau" and is headed by a City Council member delegated to be the Commissioner of Police (usually the Mayor).

  • Independent Police Review (IPR):
    Administrative body in the Auditor's office consisting of twelve full- and part-time staff set up to do all intake of citizen complaints alleging police misconduct. Given limited "Independent" power when established in 2001, in 2014 the IPR gained added authority to conduct its own investigations, but not the power to compel officer testimony. In 2017, the word "Division" was dropped from IPR's name.

  • Citizen Review Committee (CRC):
    Panel of eleven volunteers set up of the IPR to review closed cases of alleged police misconduct, hear appeals of Bureau findings, and make policy recommendations for the PPB. Members have to pass a background check and sign a confidentiality agreement.

  • Police Review Board (PRB):
    A body internal to the PPB, which (a) for cases considering discipline when an officer is found out of policy includes an Assistant Chief, the officer's commander, a peer officer, an IPR director, and a community member, and (b) for cases considering deadly or excessive force allegations includes those five members plus an additional peer officer and one member of the CRC on a rotating basis. PRB reports are required to be published twice a year.

  • Directives (Police Directives-formerly "General Orders"):
    The local administrative rules the police use as guidelines for doing their duty.

  • Internal Affairs [Division] (IA):
    Unit within the PPB that investigates alleged police misconduct. Staffed by PPB detectives, though most are retired homicide detectives and at least one (as of 2015) came from another jurisdiction. Most of the time a community member files a complaint that receives a full investigation, it will be conducted by IA rather than IPR.

  • DOJ (Settlement) Agreement:
    In 2012, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) found a pattern or practice by the PPB of excessive force, particularly against people in mental health crisis. To avoid being taken to trial, the City of Portland signed a Settlement Agreement pledging reforms. For various reasons, the Agreement was not entered in the court record until August, 2014.

  • Human Rights Commission (HRC):
    A 20-member group created in 2009 to "help eliminate discrimination and bigotry, to strengthen inter-group relationships and foster greater understanding, inclusion and justice for those who live, work, study, worship, travel and play in the City of Portland. The HRC is guided by the principles embodied in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "

  • Community / Police Relations Committee (CPRC):
    Part of the HRC, this group had 15 members-- five Human Rights Commissioners, five "at large" community members, and five police officers, all of whom have a vote. By City Ordinance, the CPRC is supposed to look at Racial Profiling and traffic stop data.
    Note: CPRC stopped meeting in early 2016, even though it is listed in the DOJ Agreement as having responsibilities around profiling.

  • Compliance Officer/Community Liaison (COCL):
    The person (/team) hired to oversee implementation of the DOJ Agreement. In 2014, Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum of Chicago was hired for this job, with former Oregon Chief Justice Paul DeMuniz acting as a local representative. After Justice DeMuniz quit, Kathleen Saadat was hired, but also quit. Some local employees work in city offices for the COCL.

  • Community Oversight Advisory Board (COAB):
    A twenty-member body created to oversee the work of the COCL and the implementation of the DOJ Agreement. Five are non-voting police officers. Five community members were chosen by City Council, five by the HRC and Portland Commission on Disabilities (PCoD), and five by a panel of stakeholder groups.
    Note: COAB was disbanded by City Council's lack of action to replace members who resigned on Jan. 31, 2017. As of March 2018, its promised successor, the PCCEP (see next entry) has not been established.

  • Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP):
    Created by City Code in August 2017, this Committee to replace the COAB can have as many as 11 members. It is charged with looking at the implementation of the Agreement, racial justice, and the Bureau's Directives. As of March 2018, it has not been established.

  • Training Advisory Council (TAC):
    This group was created in late 2012 as the DOJ Agreement was being negotiated. It has about 30 members, and is supposed to make recommendations to the Bureau's Training Division. Members have to pass a background check and sign a confidentiality agreement.

  • Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform:
    An organization which came together in 2003 after the death of Kendra James, revived again in 2009/2010 around two incidents including the death of Aaron Campbell, the AMA Coalition has a seat at the table as "enhanced amicus curiae (friend of the court)" in the DOJ Settlement Agreement process. Portland Copwatch has a member on the Coalition steering committee.

  • Multnomah County Sheriff's Office (MCSO):
    The elected Sheriff of Multnomah County runs the jails, river patrols, and other deputies who work in nearby incorporated and unincorporated areas. The MCSO is one of a number of agencies who work under the PPB as part of the Transit Police.

  • Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF):
    An FBI-led group made up of a number of federal and local agencies which has a mission to investigate possible terrorist activity. The Portland Police were part of the JTTF from some time in the late 1990s until 2005, then they were pulled out because the Mayor did not have the same security clearance as the officers. Portland rejoined part-time in 2011 and then authorized two full-time officers to participate in 2015.

  • Portland City Council:
    Five elected officials including the Mayor who run the various Bureaus of the City, and deliberate on local laws (ordinances) and policies. The Mayor assigns which Bureaus go to which commissioner, and most of the time acts as Police Commissioner.'

  • Portland City Auditor:
    The sixth elected official in Portland, who audits the various Bureaus and city finances, but also houses the IPR and CRC. The Auditor recommends the members to be appointed to CRC and the Police Review Board.

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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.

Page last updated March 5, 2018

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