Citizen Review Committee
March 20, 2007
Approved April 17, 2007
CRC Members Present: Hank Miggins (Chair), Michael Bigham (Vice-chair), Lewellyn Robison (Recorder), Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, Robert Milesnick, Robert Ueland
CRC Members Absent: Irene Ogouma, Sherrelle Owens
City Staff Present: Leslie Stevens (IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR), Lauri Stewart (IPR)
Police Bureau Members Present: Captain John Tellis (IAD)
Chair Miggins called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m.
I. Introductions, welcome, and reading of the meeting ground rules (Chair Miggins)
II. Mr. Eriksson moved that the minutes of the 2/20/07 CRC meeting be approved. Mr. Bigham seconded. The minutes were unanimously approved.
III. Director’s Report
• Appeals Update: For calendar year 2007, 13 cases have been closed that were eligible for appeal. One request for appeal has been received. Two additional persons have requested but have not yet submitted a “Request for Appeal” form.
• Director Stevens, Chair Miggins, and Captain Tellis will not be able to attend the April 17 CRC meeting, as they will be attending an out of state conference.
• New PPB Directives: PPB policy changes issued since the last CRC meeting include changes to the Taser directive. Mr. Miggins and Mr. Eriksson were included in a group of citizens who were asked by Chief Sizer to provide feedback on changes to this directive.
• Chief’s Forum Update (Lauri Stewart): The last Chief’s Forum included a presentation by Deputy District Attorney Jim Hayden about the Parental Responsibilities Ordinance and updates from the committee work group on plan to begin citing parents for curfew violations in Northeast and Central Precincts during Spring Break.
• Community Outreach Update (Lauri Stewart): The Winter 2007 IPR Quarterly Report has been released. Lauri Stewart and Mike Hess met with a Portland Community College Government Class to discuss citizen oversight of the police. Director Stevens has been invited to present at the PPB Desk Sergeants Training. Lauri met with a group in Washington County regarding formation of a human rights committee and handling of discrimination complaints. Lauri provided consultation to Miami FL on hiring and training of investigators; to Cincinnati OH on policy development process; to Washington DC on medical assistance and transport; to Milwaukee WI on satisfaction surveys and investigator recruitment. Upcoming meetings are scheduled with the Hispanic Services Roundtable and international visitors from Mongolia.
IV. Guest Speaker: Mr. Israel Bayer, Street Roots Director.
Mr. Bayer discussed the mission of Street Roots, a nonprofit grassroots newspaper assisting people experiencing homelessness and poverty by creating flexible income opportunities, education, advocacy, and personal expression. One of the concerns expressed was the apparent lack of knowledge of the process for filing complaints against downtown Portland Patrol, Inc. (PPI) security officers, who are sometimes mistaken for Portland Police officers due to the similarity of their uniforms. Director Stevens stated that IPR does at times receive complaints regarding PPI employees, as well as officers from other jurisdictions, and these are referred to the appropriate agencies. Mr. Miggins suggested that a PPI representative be invited to talk to CRC at a future meeting. Following the presentation, there was an open discussion with CRC, IPR, and community members regarding issues raised in the presentation. Mr. Alejandro Queral and Ms. Debbie Aiona suggested that there be more outreach to the homeless community to make them more comfortable with the complaint filing process. There was also discussion about providing more information to homeless persons about what to do if stopped by the police. It was mentioned that Portland CopWatch publishes a reference guide on a citizen’s rights when stopped by the police. In response to Mr. Eriksson’s request for a copy of this reference guide, Director Stevens offered to provide CRC with a copy.
V. Workgroup Updates
• Tow Policy Workgroup (Michael Bigham, Chair). The confidential draft report of the Tow Policy Workgroup will be available in a few weeks. No further meetings are scheduled at this time.
• Protocol Workgroup (Lewellyn Robison, Chair). The Protocol Workgroup met on 3/15/07, but due to lack of a quorum no action was taken. The workgroup is considering the possibility of meeting every other week rather than monthly. The workgroup plans to begin work on the new protocol regarding the expectations of CRC members and will continue working on the appeal procedure protocol. Next meeting date will be announced.
• Bias Based Policing Workgroup (Hank Miggins for Sherrelle Owens, Chair): The workgroup is still in the process of defining objectives and desired outcomes. The workgroup is considering the possibility of meeting twice each month.
VI. Old Business:
• Mr. Bigham, Ms. Robison, and Mr. Erickson volunteered to make an outreach visit to Street Roots with Lauri Stewart.
• In response to a previous request from Ms. Owens, Director Stevens provided a copy of the standard letter that is mailed to citizens when a case is completed, notifying them of their right to file a request for appeal.
VII. New Business:
• Ms. Robison made a motion to forgo the pre-hearing on the current appeal and move directly to a full hearing. Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion. After public comment, the motion passed unanimously. There was consensus to set the hearing for 5/15/07. Mr. Ueland encouraged CRC members to review the case file for the appeal hearing prior to the April CRC meeting so that any questions or concerns might addressed prior to the hearing.
• Mr. Erickson presented a summary of a recent meeting of the Police Bureau with citizen and peer members of the Use of Force/Performance Review Board. The participants to this meeting agreed that the current review board process is a good process and is working well, although some improvements are needed to make it more effective. The Police Bureau is considering revising current directive 335.00 and creating a separate directive for the Use of Force Board and the Performance Board, respectively. The Police Bureau is also interested in expanding the pool of citizens who serve on these boards. Director Stevens stated that the Police Bureau has asked for names of any additional CRC members who might be interested in serving on the review boards. She asked anyone who is interested in this to let her know within the next couple of days. Ms. Cooper expressed interest in serving on the review boards.
• Ms. Robison presented a progress update on the Employee Information System (EIS) (formerly Early Intervention System). Ms. Robison spoke with Sergeant Kathleen Lynch, who is currently in charge of the EIS project. The database is now available to all supervisory levels but not to individual employees. Training for supervisors is expected to be completed by mid-April. The Bureau wants to use this system to identify performance problems before they reach a point where they could damage the career of an officer or cause harm to the public. Data that might serve as an indicator for possible performance issues is being downloaded into EIS from a variety of electronic systems. Eventually, every employee will be able to look at his or her own data. The contract has been let for Phase II, which concerns the development of thresholds. It was emphasized that EIS is just a tool and cannot be used by itself to determine performance problems. The goal of the EIS is to help to keep employees productive.
VIII. New Tracking Items (Mr. Milesnick)
• Inviting a representative of PPI to talk to CRC.
• Obtaining information about the San Diego Homeless Court system. (Mr. Milesnick offered to look into this.)
• Inviting Mr. Bayer or others from Street Roots to participate in a CRC workgroup.
• Increasing community outreach to inform the public about the appeals process.
• Conducting recurring audits. (An audit of IPR Rapid Dismissals has been suggested.)
• Inviting persons who have been through the appeal process to speak to CRC about their experience.
• Doing an outreach visit to Street Roots.
IX. Public Comment:
• Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters): In lieu of pre-hearings, she would like CRC to pursue having a discussion of the investigation itself at the meeting prior to hearings to discuss any possible concerns of CRC members about the investigation.
• Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch): Is pleased that CRC has lately been going directly to full hearings and foregoing the pre-hearing process. Does not believe mediation should be offered in lieu of appeals. Asked that the public be notified in a timely manner of changes in workgroup meeting dates.
• Marcella RedThunder: Discussed outreach to the homeless and Native American populations.
X. Wrap-up Comments
• Ms. Cooper asked if there was a reason that IPR does not enclose the appeal request form with the cover letter that is sent to complainants when cases are closed. Director Stevens replied that, although she is not averse to this and wants it to be very easy for complainants to request an appeal, at the same time she wants to give people the opportunity to make a thoughtful decision.
Chair Miggins adjourned the meeting at 8:00 p.m.