Citizen Review Committee
December 19, 2006
Approved February 20, 2007
CRC Members Present: Hank Miggins (Chair), Michael Bigham (Vice-chair), Lewellyn Robison (Recorder), Loren Eriksson, Josephine Cooper, Sherrelle Owens, Marcella Red Thunder, and Robert Ueland. (Mr. Eriksson and Mr. Ueland arrived approximately five minutes after the meeting was called to order.)
CRC Members Absent: Irene Ogouma
City Staff Present: Gary Blackmer (City Auditor), Leslie Stevens (IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR), Lauri Stewart (IPR)
Chair Miggins called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m.
I. Introductions and welcome (Chair Miggins)
II. Ms. Robison moved that the minutes of the 11/21/06 CRC meeting be approved. Mr. Bigham seconded. Ms. Red Thunder made a motion to amend the last sentence in Section VII of the minutes to read as follows: “Ms. Red Thunder said that she had not been notified that it was time to reapply for her CRC position.” The minutes were unanimously approved as amended.
Yes: Bigham, Cooper, Miggins, Owens, Red Thunder, Robison
(Mr. Eriksson and Mr. Ueland were not present for this vote.)
III. Director’s Report
o Appeals Update: For calendar year 2006, 37 cases have been eligible for appeal. Of these, eight remain outstanding, and three appeals have been received.
o No new PPB Directives were issued.
o Proposed changes to the Appeal Process Advisor Protocol 5.21 were posted on the IPR website for public comment. There was not sufficient time to post the proposed changes to the protocol for election of CRC officers.
o All CRC meetings are again being announced on the City’s general public meeting calendar.
o Following tonight’s meeting, Director Stevens will be out of the office until after the first of the year.
o Community Outreach Update (Lauri Stewart):
In lieu of a regular meeting, the Chief’s Forum held its annual awards ceremony for outstanding community policing. Information about award recipients may be found on the Portland Police Bureau’s website. The next Chief’s Forum is scheduled for 1/15/07.
Outreach included a presentation for the Immigrant Mentor Program of Lutheran Social Services, which primarily serves the Russian immigrant community; outreach to new Crime Prevention Coordinators; outreach to St. John's Community Center; a meeting with John Canda, Director of the Mayor's Youth Violence Prevention Office; contact with KBOO Community Radio about ways to let more people in the community know about the work of the CRC and IPR; and efforts to set up meetings with the African Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Project and with the Family Law Education Workshop of Asian Family Center. The fall Quarterly Newsletter has been sent out; the deadline for submissions for the winter newsletter is the end of this week.
IV. Guest Speaker: Mr. David Fidanque, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon.
Regarding the issues of racial profiling and bias based policing, Mr. Fidanque stated that these need to be addressed “in a myriad of ways.” He said the following:
“Training is a piece of it, more contact between police officers and members of the community in non-crisis situations is key to that, which was one of the founding principles of community policing in this city…. And so, it’s training, it’s better relationships with the community, but it’s also being open to collecting data and being willing to ask the hard questions, institutional questions, to figure out what that data might mean and where it leads; and that goes to the policies and the practices of the organization that may be creating institutional racism, that puts officers in the situation where, even if they had the best training and had the best intentions, their actions may result in disproportionate treatment of people of color.”
Mr. Fidanque stressed what he sees as the critical importance of CRC’s role with regard to police policies. In this regard, he spoke of the City of Eugene Police Commission’s successful efforts in effecting policy changes in the Eugene Police Department.
A question and answer session followed Mr. Fidanque’s presentation.
Ms. Red Thunder asked Mr. Fidanque if his office refers citizens with complaints about police officers [to IPR] because he really believes that it is working and making a difference. Mr. Fidanque replied as follows:
“Well, I can’t say we think it’s perfect, but we think the Portland process is one of the best around for review of individuals’ complaints about alleged police misconduct. Now, could it be improved? Sure, but I think the biggest improvement that we see still to happen is for a greater policy role here in Portland by this organization and members of the community; and that’s what we’ve been advocating, and I think the City’s moving in that direction, and I think that is good. I think the implementation of the mediation process was very important and a good thing, because I think in many of the situations where there is no violation of the law or violation of policy by a police officer it is still very beneficial for those officers to meet that individual after the fact, face to face, and hear firsthand how their conduct affected that person they had an interaction with. And I think it’s that human element that we need to have a lot more of in the law enforcement process. I think it’s important for folks who come into contact with the police, who are on the receiving end, the consumer end, of a stop by a police officer or some other action by an officer, to understand what the officer is up against, too, and how dangerous an officer’s job can be at times, and how unpredictable an officer’s job can be and how quickly a situation can go from a normal situation to a deadly situation.”
Mr. Erickson asked Mr. Fidanque if there is anything as far as he was concerned that CRC or IPR are doing or not doing that they are “missing the boat”on. Mr. Fidanque responded as follows:
“Not as far as I’m concerned. I’m not quite sure what the ideal way is for the City of Portland to pursue the policy issues that I’m talking about. I know the CRC has to be part of that…. I know you do have a policy function, and I think that is very important.… In terms of your day-to-day work, I don’t know of anything that I would pinpoint right now.” Mr. Fidanque said he would say the same for IPR.
Regarding police policy issues and police-community issues, Mr. Fidanque said: “There is a lot of work to be done in Portland, and I think this committee plays a very positive role, but it’s a limited role, and I think that there is a lot more that needs to be done. I think there’s been some positive movement under Chief Sizer, but there’s a lot more that needs to be done.”
V. Action Items
• Proposed new protocol 5.22 on Election of Officers.
After discussion of the wording of this proposed protocol, a decision was made to bring it back for a vote at the next CRC meeting after reworking the language of the protocol. Mr. Eriksson asked for clarification of what is meant by “majority” in section 3.c. The workgroup will work on clarifying this and other matters.
Ms. Robison outlined the significant proposed changes to the current protocol on the election of officers include the following: a provision that the CRC Chair would conduct the election rather than the IPR Director; that the election of CRC officers will be announced at the December CRC meeting; that members who are absent from the January meeting could be considered for an officer position; that the role of the Recorder would be slightly expanded; and a revision in the section on how the Chair would deal with time sensitive issues. Chair Miggins added that he would also like the protocol on the election of officers separated from Protocol 5.06.
Ms. Robison asked members to provide their written input on the proposed changes within the next ten days so that an amended version can be sent out at a week or so before the next meeting.
Mr. Ueland said that he understood that the Oregon Public Meetings Law requires that there be a written record of votes made by name. Director Stevens said that this requirement is met by including the results of votes in the minutes.
• Proposed changes to Protocol 5.21 – Appeal Process Advisor (APA).
Mr. Ueland noted that all CRC members have had the proposed changes to this protocol for a month. He asked if anyone had any corrections, additions, or deletions that they would like to recommend. Ms. Cooper made a number of suggestions about the wording of various sections of the protocol.
In section 1, Ms. Cooper suggested changing the word “service” to “assistance.” Ms. Robison explained that the word “assistance” was intentionally avoided in order to be clear that the APA’s role is to advise the appellant/officer on the appeal procedure provide but not to provide advocacy or assistance or on the specific case.
In section 5, Ms. Cooper suggested adding a period after the phrase “any supporting evidence the appellants may have” and then starting a new sentence that says, “However, the APA may provide guidance as outlined below.” There was consensus on this.
In section 5.a., Ms. Cooper suggested that the sentence would be clearer if “he/she” is substituted for “their” in the phrase “their qualifications for serving as APA.” Director Stevens suggested using “APA” rather than “his/her” or “their.” The sentence would then read, “”The APA will explain the APA’s role to the Participant and the APA’s qualifications for serving as APA.” There was consensus on this.
In section 5.b., Ms. Cooper asked if the APA would be expected to explain the whole review standard to the Participant. Mr. Ueland confirmed that this is expected, and he did not see any reason to change this section.
In section 5.e., Ms. Cooper suggested substituting “Internal Affairs Division” for “IAD” since this is the first time in the document that this acronym is used. There was consensus on this.
In section 5.h., Ms. Cooper suggested clarifying whether or not the written evaluation would be on a specific form provided by CRC. Chair Miggins said that he believes the written evaluation should be optional. He said he is uncomfortable with telling the APA “you will do this,” when the APA has already volunteered to provide this service. Mr. Ueland thought it is important to obtain some feedback from the APA on the whether the process is worthwhile and works in its present form. Mr. Ueland equated this with being asked to fill out an evaluation after attending a seminar.
Ms. Cooper suggested changing the phrase “in a form provided by CRC” to “on the form provided by CRC” and adding the phrase, “and submitted to CRC.” There was consensus on this.
Chair Miggins stated that it would not be necessary to go “back to the drawing board” with this protocol, since the suggested changes were essentially grammatical and not substantive changes.
Mr. Ueland made a motion to adopt amended Protocol 5.21 with the above noted corrections. Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion. There was no further discussion from CRC members. Mr. Dan Handelman of Portland CopWatch provided public comment. Chair Miggins clarified that the action being considered at this time, based on the motion and second, is adoption of a replacement to a previously approved protocol.
The motion to adopt amended Protocol 5.21 passed unanimously.
Yes: Bigham, Cooper, Eriksson, Miggins, Owens, Red Thunder, Robison, Ueland
VI. Workgroup Updates
• Appeal Work Group (Bob Ueland, Chair): Mr. Ueland reported that the Appeal Workgroup did not meet in December. The next meeting of the Appeal Workgroup will be on the second Wednesday of the month (1/10/07) at noon. (Since the next meeting of the Appeal Workgroup is scheduled at the same time as the meeting of the Bias Based Policing workgroup, IPR will arrange for a second meeting room in City Hall.)
• Tow Policy Workgroup (Michael Bigham, Chair): Mr. Bigham reported that the Tow Policy Workgroup has been continuing its work, and at their next meeting IPR Director Stevens will come up with a draft of recommendations for the workgroup to review. Director Stevens stated that it was her understanding that the workgroup members wanted to take the draft recommendations to the full CRC before preparing a draft report, although this is not required. Director Stevens will try to have a draft ready for discussion at the next Tow Policy Workgroup meeting in preparation for the workgroup taking the draft to the full CRC for discussion. The next meeting of the Tow Policy Workgroup will be on Tuesday, 1/9/07 at noon in the IPR Conference Room.
• Protocol Workgroup (Lewellyn Robison, Chair): Ms. Robison noted that the Protocol Workgroup status report was provided in the CRC packets. There was a meeting on 12/11/06. Ms. Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters) and Mr. Don Drew, a member of the public, attended the meeting and provided useful input. The next meeting of the Protocol Workgroup will be on Monday, 1/8/06, at noon in the IPR Conference Room.
• Director Stevens offered to get the draft Protocol 5.22 (Election of Officers) on the IPR website. Chair Miggins suggested that the current draft be posted so that it is available to the public.
• Bias Based Policing Workgroup (Sherrelle Owens, Chair): Ms. Owens reported that the Bias Based Policing Workgroup had its first meeting (on 12/6/06) and are in the process of collecting information that will help them to define their objectives and the desired work product. The next meeting of the Bias Based Policing Workgroup will be on 1/10/06 at noon in the IPR Conference Room.
Director Stevens announced that the Mayor’s Office has invited Mr. Miggins to be a member of the City’s racial profiling group. Chair Miggins accepted the invitation but is concerned that it not appear that the Mayor’s Office is preempting CRC’s efforts on bias based policing. Mr. Miggins will make a statement to this effect at the first meeting of the Mayor’s group. Ms. Robison and Mr. Ueland expressed their support for Mr. Miggins’ participation on the Mayor’s group.
• CRC Retreat (Lewellyn Robison): Ms. Robison reported that the CRC retreat is still on schedule for Saturday 1/13/07 at 9:00 a.m. in the Water Pollution Laboratory in North Portland. Mike Hess is working on getting a facilitator for the morning session of the retreat. Ms. Robison will facilitate if it is not possible to obtain an outside facilitator. Director Stevens has agreed to present an overview on CRC policies, including confidentiality, the reasonable person standard, and retention of records. The major function of the retreat will be to set goals for the coming year. The SMART Goals technique, which was introduced at the last retreat, will again be used. (SMART is a mnemonic for Specific, Measurable, Agreed Upon, Realistic, and Time- and Cost-bound.)
VII. New Business
Mr. Eriksson asked if there would be a regular CRC meeting in January in addition to the retreat. Mr. Eriksson thought a meeting is needed because of the election of officers, but he suggested having a shorter agenda than normal. There was general agreement that the meeting should be held, possibly with a shortened agenda. Ms. Stewart suggested starting the meeting at 6:00 p.m. rather than 5:30 p.m. due to rush hour traffic, since the meeting is scheduled to be held at the St. John’s Community Center in North Portland. It was decided that there will be a regular monthly meeting with a shortened agenda on 1/16/06, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Chair Miggins has extended an invitation to Senator Avril Gordley to be guest speaker, but this has not been confirmed.
Ms. Red Thunder again stated that she wants to retain her position as a CRC member, but she did not know that she needed to reapply. She asked how she could continue as a CRC member. Auditor Blackmer stated by the time it was learned that Ms. Red Thunder wanted to continue in her position, the City Council had already confirmed three new members, thus filling all existing vacancies.
Mr. Bigham and Ms. Owens asked about the process for filling an open slot if a CRC member were to resign. Mr. Blackmer replied that there are candidates on the list who were not selected who could still be considered. Director Stevens mentioned that midterm vacancies are not addressed by the ordinance. Mr. Bigham stated that he would like to have Ms. Red Thunder included in the applicant pool if a vacancy arises. Ms. Owens asked if the issue of filling CRC vacancies could be included as an agenda item at the retreat. Chair Miggins asked for this to be added as an agenda item for the retreat.
VIII. Public Comment: Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch)
IX. Wrap-up Comments:
Chair Miggins announced that he received a letter from Adams Consulting advising that the City of Seattle is in search of a Director of the Office of Professional Accountability, an office that is comparable to IPR. The letter solicited recommendations of suitable candidates.
Ms. Owens asked if CRC has in the past ever made a recommendation or questioned Council regarding the ordinance. Auditor Blackmer suggested that where the ordinance is vague or lacking, protocols may be drafted to fill in the gaps.
There followed additional discussion of the Ms. Red Thunder’s situation.
Chair Miggins adjourned the meeting at 8:50 p.m.