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Independent Police Review Division: Analysis and Background

Portland's "Independent" Police Review Division (IPR), created in 2001 as a professionally staffed office in the City Auditor's office to handle complaints about police misconduct, has theoretically had the power to conduct its own investigations since its inception. However, any full investigation done as a result of a complaint to IPR is handed over to the Portland Police Bureau's Internal Affairs division (generally less than 15% of all complaints). Since this perpetuates a system in which police continue to investigate other police, Portland Copwatch frequently puts the term "Independent" in quotes.

Affiliated with IPR is an 11-member volunteer Citizen Review Committee, which holds hearings on appeals of misconduct cases, produces reports recommending improvements to Bureau and IPR policies, and holds public forums.

Analysis of IPR Annual Reports

*       NEW! 6/21 IPR 2020 Annual Report Inadequate Reporting Continues on Force, Discipline
  (11-14 pages, 6/28/21)
*       5/20 IPR 2019 Annual Report Five Short Pages Signifying (Almost) Nothing
  (3 pages, 5/19/20)
*       5/19 IPR 2018 Annual Report Ignores Force and Police Review Board
  (10 pages, 5/23/19)
*       7/18 IPR 2017 Annual Report Drops Force Data
  (10 pages, 7/5/18)
*       5/17 IPR 2016 Annual Report Incomplete, Inaccurate
  (13+ pages, 5/26/17)
*       IPR 2015 Annual Report Barely Scratches the Surface
  (8 pages, 7/27/16)
*         IPR 2014 Annual Report Reads Like a Summary
  (10 pages, 11/16/15)
*       IPR 2013 Annual Report More Details Expose System Failure
  (10 pages, 10/31/14)
*       IPR 2012 Annual Report Draws Attention Away from Shortcomings of System
  (7 pages, 5/31/13)
*       IPR 2011 Annual Report Shares Little Analysis, Uses New Statistics but Old Examples
  (5 pages, 7/30/12)
*     IPR 2010 Annual Report : Some Improvement, Leaves Much to Be Desired
  (7 pages, 6/7/11)
     IPR 2009 Annual Report Fails to Highlight Major Issues
  (7 pages, 6/25/10)
     IPR 2007 Annual Report Continues Using Misleading Statistics
  (7 pages, 10/10/08, posted 1/1/09)
     Third Annual Report (2004) shows system still needs work
  (8 pages, 8/3/05)
   Second Annual Report (2003) continues to ignore community concerns
  (2 pages, 8/31/04)
   First Annual Report (2002) shows shortcomings in the structure
   (9 pages, 6/19/03)

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Analysis of other IPR Reports and the IPR's structure

  • Changes to Portland's Civilian Oversight system 2016-2017
    August-November 2016: City To End Public Input at Accountability Hearings
      Read Portland Copwatch's comments
      to City Council and the Auditor
    condemning the process and content
      of their first proposal to gut the Citizen Review Committee (CRC) of its public hearings.
    Subsequently the City proposed to keep hearings public but cut out public comment.
    PCW was invited to sit on a Stakeholder Committee to consider fixes.

    Previously, the community waited for nearly 2 years to strenghten the CRC, Council voted in
      only 4 significant changes to the ordinance on December 14, 2011, one of which
      weakened the CRC.

    NOTE: In April 2017, City Council over-rode the Auditor's proposal and inserted into City Code the public's ability to comment prior to CRC voting, a victory for the people.

  • In November 2011, the Mayor and Chief put out a 44-page document
    followed days later by the City Auditor's own 45-page document
    responding to over 150 recommendations for changes to Bureau Policy
    and the "Independent" Police Review Division (IPR).
    Depsite the community waiting for nearly 2 years to strenghten the IPR's
    Citizen Review Committee (CRC), Council voted in only 4 significant changes
    to the ordinance on December 14, 2011, one of which weakened the CRC.

    Read Portland Copwatch's eight-page analysis of the review board proposals (.pdf only- November 9, 2011)
    and our four-page analysis of the Bureau policy issues (November 11, 2011).
    For clarity, we created a document outlining the Auditor's proposed changes
    and eleven other changes derived from the Stakeholders' recommendations for IPR (Nov. 30 2011).

  • Portland Copwatch participated in the IPR Stakeholder Workgroup (May- September 2010)
        evaluating changes to the Independent Police Review Division (IPR) made in March, 2010.
        Read the Stakeholders Report (9/10)
        the Auditor's Response and Chief's Response
        Read Portland Copwatch's analysis of the "Standard of Review" for the
        Citizen Review Committee (4/8/11-.pdf)

  • Read about the 2008 Luna-Firebaugh Report on the IPR

        • Download the January, 2008 report from the IPR's website,
        • read our full analysis (2/12/08), watch the companion video.

  • Analysis of the Independent Police Review Division (IPR)'s
      Tort Claim report
    , which calls for lawsuits to be handled
       like complaints (9/20/04)

  • Read an analysis of the Auditor's "Independent Police Review Division", showing that it acts to shield police from scrutiny (5/21/01)
  • Back to top

    The Police Review Board was initially created in 2004, but formalized in 2010. It hears cases in which officers use deadly force or face potential discipline for misconduct. It consists of 3 Portland Police, the Director of IPR (or a designee), and one civilian member from a pool of 20. Deadly force and excessive force cases add one more PPB member and a member of the CRC.

    The PRB puts out reports twice a year. PCW has analyzed a number of these reports.

  • NEW! Analysis of the December 2023 Police Review Board Report
  • Back to top

    Background on the IPR

  • Read the Majority Report of the Mayor's PIIAC work group,
      proposing a strong police review board (Oct. 30, 2000)
  • Back to top


    On This Page

    IPR Annual Reports
    Other IPR Reports/Structure
    Police Review Board

    Background on the IPR

    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.

    Posted June 22, 2011, last updated February 21, 2024