Citizen Review Committee Retreat
January 13, 2007
Approved February 20, 2007
CRC Members Present: Michael Bigham, Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, Hank Miggins, Robert Milesnick, Sherrelle Owens, Marcella Red Thunder, Lewellyn Robison, Robert Ueland
CRC Member Absent: Irene Ogouma
City Staff Present: Gary Blackmer (City Auditor), Leslie Stevens (IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR)
Facilitator: Stuart Watson, Resolutions Northwest
The retreat was called to order by Ms. Robison at 9:05 a.m.
II. Working Together: Mr. Watson facilitated several interactive exercises to enhance team building and working together.
III. Auditor Blackmer addressed CRC on the tools and philosophy of Portland’s police oversight system. Mr. Blackmer made the following points:
• Portland’s audit model of police oversight is unlike any other oversight system in the nation. It is the only oversight system that is overseen by an elected City Auditor. The independence and objectivity that this provides gives our oversight system a standing that no other police monitor has.
• IPR/CRC’s charge is to persuade the Police Bureau to change, using the force of reason and facts.
• It is important to constantly question authority, question ourselves, actively listen, and actively challenge our own thinking.
• Recognition of excellence is equally as important as criticism.
• It is important that the Police Bureau respect the judgment of CRC. Credibility will be diminished if we persuade the Police Bureau to make a change, and it goes awry.
IV. CRC 101 (IPR Director Stevens)
Powers and Duties of CRC: Aside from process kinds of things, such as conducting meetings, outreach, subcommittee formation, etc., Director Stevens outlined three specific duties of CRC:
• Helping IPR identify patterns or problems and participating with IPR in persuading the Police Bureau that there are other ways to do things through their policies and practices.
• Advising and making recommendations to the IPR Director regarding IPR’s method of handling complaints.
• Hearing appeals to determine whether the findings are supported by the evidence and whether a reasonable person would have made the same finding in light of the facts.
Public Records/Public Meetings Laws
Director Stevens provided each CRC member with a copy of the Oregon Public Record Law and Public Meeting Law.
In Oregon, generally, every member of the public has a right to inspect any public record of a public body, unless an exemption applies.
A “public record” is broadly defined as any writing (including tapes, voice messages, emails, photographs, etc.) prepared, owned, used, or retained by a public body, such as CRC. In general, any record that a CRC member prepares, owns, or uses in the conduct of CRC business is a public record. However, most, but not all, records reviewed by CRC are exempt from public disclosure. Examples of exemptions are the following: Information about a personnel investigation of a public safety officer; information regarding mental or physical health, including HIV status, aftercare, drug and alcohol treatment, etc.; information submitted to an agency in confidence with the expectation that they will be maintained confidential (anonymous complaints, for example). Disclosure of a confidential record in violation of state or federal law could subject a person to a personal lawsuit and could subject the City to a lawsuit. CRC members are advised not to release any records or work notes or products unless they are first reviewed by the IPR Director or the City Attorney’s Office to ensure that confidential or exempt information is not released. Emails created, used, or maintained by CRC members in the conduct of CRC business are public record. Generally, CRC members are responsible for not destroying public records, which is a crime in Oregon. As a practical matter, if CRC members send their emails to IPR, IPR will retain them. Every type of record has its own retention schedule. The retention schedule is available online. “Ephemeral communications” need be retained only as long as they are needed. Minutes of meetings, on the other hand, must be retained much longer. Workgroup chairs should make sure that minutes are given to Mike Hess so IPR can retain them for the required period of time.
As a general rule, in Oregon, governing bodies, including CRC, are expected to conduct deliberations and make decisions in a meeting that is open to the public unless there is an executive session authorized. Public meetings law applies only when there is a quorum, which, by ordinance, means five or more CRC members in one place. If a workgroup meets with less than five members, by definition it is not a public meeting. However, by protocol and practice, these are conducted in public, but the requirements are less onerous.
A public meeting can also be created through emails, voice mails, etc. CRC members may consult with the IPR Director if there is any question about whether a public meeting is being created through electronic communication. Since email communications are an efficient way to communicate, members should feel free to send communications to other members by email as long as they talk about the matter at a public meeting. If in essence a quorum is established to deliberate, to make a decision, or to get information upon which a decision will be based, that is considered a public meeting in Oregon.
IPR takes care of public meeting notices for CRC. CRC just needs to give IPR enough lead time and enough information to be able to issue the public notice. Notice of public meetings need to be given in a time that is reasonably calculated to allow persons who are interested to attend. IPR’s goal is to send out notices one week in advance whenever possible.
At the request of Mr. Eriksson, Director Stevens provided CRC members with blank examples of the various types of Police Bureau reports.
V. Walking the Talk (Ms. Robison)
Ms. Robison led a discussion about the need to track and follow through on items brought up in CRC meetings for future discussion or action. Mr. Miggins suggested that one member of the CRC be responsible for monitoring and maintaining a tracking list. Mr. Milesnick volunteered to take the lead on this. Stuart Watson offered to develop a sample tracking grid. It was agreed that future meeting agendas will include a brief review of the existing tracking list and, at the end of the meeting, a review of any new tracking items added to the list.
VI. Public Comment: Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch) and Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters)
VII. Goals for the Current Year: Discussion was had regarding goals for the current year, including incorporating recurring projects and projects currently underway into the prioritization of goals. The following ranking of priorities was discussed:
• Bias Based Policing [workgroup in progress]
• Protocol [workgroup in progress]
• Community Outreach [workgroup to be established]
• Recurring Audits (Rapid Dismissals) [workgroup to be established]
• Revised Top Ten Policy List (for future projects in descending ranking order)
1. Police Bureau Training Division Curriculum
2. In-house Training for CRC Members
4. Taser Policy
5. Recruiting and Retention (ranked equal with Taser Policy)
6. Protest Policy
7. Release of Prisoners Policies and Safeguards
The Early Intervention System and use of force issues are being dealt with through CRC participation in task forces.
There was discussion on creating a protocol describing how to define the functioning of CRC and expectations of CRC members. This will be addressed by the Protocol Workgroup.
VIII. CRC Diversity
There was a discussion of how CRC might help in the recruitment and retention of CRC members who reflect the demographic make-up of the community. Mr. Miggins suggested that this be included as a charge of the outreach workgroup.
IX. Public Comment: Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch) and Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters)
The retreat ended at 4:00 p.m.