The Reverend Dr. Leroy Haynes, Chair The Reverend Dr. T. Allen Bethel, Vice Chair
June 23, 2011
To the Mayor and City Commissioners:
Re: Priority List of the 41 Police Oversight Stakeholder Committee Recommendations
We were glad to hear, at the June 15 meeting on the IPR’s annual report, the Mayor stated his commitment to
looking at the recommendations about changes to Portland’s oversight system to proposed changes back to
Council. The Mayor specifically mentioned work with the AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform on the
The Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform urges Council to bring forward
further changes to Portland’s police oversight system as promised in March, 2010, using the framework of the
Police Oversight Stakeholder Committee report presented to you on December 1, 2010. Below are the AMA
Coalition’s priorities, based on an analysis of the forty-one (41) recommendations of the Stakeholder Committee
and the AMA Coalition’s five (5) goals and forty-nine (49) community demands.
In March, 2010, Commissioner Randy Leonard and Auditor Lavonne Griffin Valade set forth an ordinance
making changes to the City's police oversight system. These included adding to the scope of the Independent
Police Review Division (IPR), the professional staff which take in complaints about misconduct, and formalizing
the Police Review Board (PRB), which is made up of a majority of police personnel but includes one to two
civilian members depending whether they are considering a disciplinary decision or a use of force.
The Auditor, Council and IPR Director Mary-Beth Baptista explicitly stated that they did not make any changes
to the IPR's Citizen Review Committee (CRC), which hears appeals from complainants unhappy with the
outcome of an Internal Affairs (IA) investigation and recommends changes to police policies.
On December 1, 2010, a report prepared over a four-month period by the Police Oversight Stakeholder
Committee featuring 41 recommendations for further strengthening IPR and CRC, was accepted unanimously by
City Council, with a promise by Mayor Sam Adams to have a package of changes ready by mid-January for a
The Mayor then set aside the Stakeholder report while the City debated the Bureau's participation in the Joint
Terrorism Task Force. On June 15, the Mayor stated that his office was working on changes proposed to the
Independent Police Review Division as the IPR presented its annual report.
AMA PRIORITY LIST:
The AMA Coalition has adopted and forwarded to the Mayor and Chief a list of 49 community demands
regarding police policies and oversight. At least eight of those directly relate to the IPR/CRC system.
1) IPR TO CONDUCT INDEPENDENT MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS, INCLUDING SHOOTINGS
Two recommendations relate to the issue of what kind of independent investigations IPR should conduct. The
AMA's recommendations are specifically about shootings/deaths, and racial/other kinds of profiling.
I. B. Ensure that IPR investigations include specified more serious complaints; particularly those including
shootings, deaths in custody, and physical injury requiring hospitalization; racial profiling, illegal searches,
conflicts of interest, or other "high emotion in the community" issues.
*I. C. Ensure that IPR has, and exercises, the power to conduct or participate in investigations (from time zero) of
specified serious incidents, including police shootings, deaths in custody, and other serious injury.
(Basis: 6.1 The IPR and the CRC must have the authority, staff, and funding to comprehensively review all
records of open and closed investigations of serious injury due to police action and/or deaths while in police
custody within one year of the incident, and make all findings public. The IPR and CRC shall explicitly be able to
engage in administrative (non-criminal) investigations of these incidents [KJ IR 5, JJP FR 5d, AMA #2]
6.5 The IPR and CRC must have the authority, staff, and funding to comprehensively review allegations of racial,
sexual, socio-economic class, ethnic, and other harassment of the public by the Portland Police. [KJ IR 6, AMA
4.6 The IPR Director or designee shall be called onto the scene of any shooting or death in custody to observe
evidence collection, policies getting followed, civilian interviews, and the general background of the incident for
use in the administrative (non-criminal) investigation. [KO 4])
2) EMPOWER IPR TO COMPEL OFFICER TESTIMONY
The March 2010 ordinance allows the IPR to compel officers' testimony so long as the collective bargaining
agreement with the police does not prohibit it. The Portland Police Association (PPA) contract was recently
adopted with no attempt by the City to change the provision that only police can interrogate suspect officers. The
Chief, members of Council, and the IPR Director state that this is not an issue because IA has never refused to ask
a question that IPR has wanted to ask. However, IPR has also never conducted its own investigation and by
refusing to add this power, the Council is setting up a scenario in which IPR will one day ask a question and the
Bureau will fail to cooperate.
I. D. Ensure that IPR has the authority to compel officer testimony and directly interview police officers in
(Basis: AMA Coalition demand 6.4: Both the IPR and CRC must be given the authority to compel testimony of
anyone involved in a police action. [KJ IR 1, JJP FR 5a, AMA #2])
3) ELIMINATE THE CONFLICT OF INTEREST WHEN THE CITY ATTORNEY ADVISES IPR AND PPB
At least twice in its history, the CRC has wanted to take action which caused the Auditor's office to withdraw or
block support of their actions due to concerns from the City Attorney's Office. If the goal of the IPR/CRC system
is to get at the truth, it must not be guided more by fear of lawsuits than to get to that truth. The recommendation
to have Counsel available for the Auditor/IPR/CRC may require a change to the City Charter, and a Charter
Commission is currently meeting. The Auditor supports this idea.
*I. F. Make it easier for the Auditor to hire outside counsel at the Auditor's discretion. If it is determined that the
above change cannot occur without a Charter change, then such a change should be supported to enable it.
(Basis: 6.2 The IPR must gain more independence by adding an attorney not connected to the City Attorney's
office and adding civilian investigators [JC 8, AMA #2])
4) IMPROVE THE CITIZEN REVIEW COMMITTEE'S STANDARD OF REVIEW
One recommendation suggests moving the decision-making criteria for the Citizen Review Committee (CRC)
from the "reasonable person" standard, which limits them to determining whether a Commander's finding was
reasonable in light of the evidence, to the more widely used "preponderance of the evidence" standard, meaning
they need 50% plus one evidence of misconduct. Since the citizen who filed the complaint is not allowed to attend
Police Review Board hearings to present evidence and talk to the members reviewing the case, the CRC hearing is
their only venue to be heard directly by a decision-making body.
*II. A. Change the definition of "supported by the evidence" from the "reasonable person" standard defined in
3.21.020 Definitions to a "preponderance of the evidence" standard.
(Basis: The AMA Coaltion signed on as a supporter of Portland Copwatch's analysis of the Standard of Review
issue; also, this relates to 6.4 and 6.5 which speak of the CRC's needed "authority" to review misconduct cases.)
5) GIVE CRC POWER TO DIRECTLY RECOMMEND POLICY CHANGES TO THE BUREAU
The Auditor and Chief both agree with CRC and the stakeholders that CRC should be able to make
recommendations directly to the Bureau instead of having to go through IPR, as is currently required by the
*II. B. Give CRC the authority/permission to make policy recommendations directly to PPB.
(Basis: 6.3 The IPR&CRC should review and change policies relating to the use of lethal force. [JMP 7, AMA
6) STRENGTHEN CRC'S APPEAL PROCESS
Two related recommendations call act to strengthen CRC's role in hearing appeals of misconduct complaints.
Currently, the ordinance allows CRC to hear new evidence from civilians, officers and witnesses, but not to
compel that testimony. If the Bureau rejects proposed findings from the CRC, the City Council can hold a
hearing, at which they can compel testimony but not hear new evidence.
II. F. Permit CRC to compel officer testimony and the testimony of other witnesses at appeal hearings.
II. G. If the CRC is not given authority to compel testimony, then grant City Council the power to hear new
(Basis: This also is supported by AMA demands 6.4 and 6.5 regarding the CRC's needed authority to review
7) IMPROVE TRANSPARENCY AND OPENNESS OF OVERSIGHT
One recommendation asks that any task force reviewing police policies on which IPR or CRC members sit should
be open to the public. The Use of Force Task Force has met twice since 2007 and the public was not allowed to
attend. In general, there has been too much moving of Bureau discussions about interactions with the public taken
behind closed doors. The Auditor agrees with this recommendation.
III. H. Make certain task forces public. A task force charged with policy review that includes members of IPR or
the CRC be open to public observation.
(Basis: 6.7 Meetings involving the IPR/CRC and the Portland Police Bureau about use of force should be open to
the public. Use of force data shall be published regularly with the goal of systemic change. [JC 11])
NOTE: one of the AMA's 8 recommendations was not reflected in the Stakeholder report:
*6.6 The CRC must have the authority to recommend whether discipline should be imposed on an officer, leaving
the type of discipline to be rendered up to the Chief of Police. (KJ IR 9, JJP FR 5e, AMA #2)
The AMA Coalition continues to urge Council to take action on these changes. While we applaud the positive
changes that have been made to the IPR and the Police Review Board system, the community and the Citizen
Review Committee cannot wait another 9 years for necessary improvements to the system.
The Steering Committee and general membership of the AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform