CRC Members Present: Michael Bigham, Hank Miggins, Sherrelle Owens, Marcella Red Thunder, Lewellyn Robison, Robert Ueland
CRC Members Absent: Josephine Cooper (excused), Loren Eriksson (excused), Robert Milesnick
City Staff Present: Leslie Stevens (IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR), Derek Reinke (IPR), Linly Reese (City Attorney)
Chair Miggins called the meeting to order at
I. Introductions and welcome
II. Approval of minutes of 9/18/07CRC Meeting: Ms. Robison moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Ueland seconded the motion. The motion passed by a vote of 4-0, with abstentions from the two members who were not present for the 9/18/07 meeting.
Yes: Owens, Red Thunder, Robison, Ueland
Abstain: Bigham, Miggins
III. Director’s Report (Director Stevens)
• Appeals Update: In calendar year 2007, 54 cases have been eligible for appeal, 7 of which are still pending. No new requests for appeal have been received.
• Two new Police Bureau directives were issued in the past month: Mobilization of Off-duty Officers and the Rescinding of Directive 630.85 (Drug Free Zone Ordinance)
• CRC Recruitment Update: Interviews of CRC finalists were done by Sherrelle Owens, Norm Costa, and Pete Sandrock. Current members Hank Miggins, Loren Eriksson, and Josey Cooper, and new members, Joann Jackson and Mark Johnson will likely be nominated by Auditor Blackmer. The selection process is not yet finalized, as background checks have not yet been completed for the new nominees. When that is done, it is expected that Auditor Blackmer will the put forth the nominees to City Council. Terms expire on December 31, so new members will come on in January.
IV. Discussion of the Appeal Process
Director Stevens provided an overview of the appeal process with a view to identifying any issues on which CRC would like future training. After the Police Bureau has made a proposed finding in a case, if it is a non-sustained finding, the citizen has a right to appeal. If it is a sustained finding, the officer has a right to appeal. Prehearings are no longer being done, so when the Director gets a request for an appeal, she brings it to CRC to schedule a hearing. When a request for appeal is received, IPR reviews the file to make sure it is organized and complete and prepares a working paper, which is a “thumbnail sketch” of the complaint investigation. Director Stevens reminded CRC members that they need to review both the IAD files and the IPR files prior to a hearing, as the IAD file includes some documents that are not in the IPR file, and vice versa. Chair Miggins asked Director Stevens if it would be possible to develop a generic index of what should be in the file as a means for reviewers to verify that the file is complete. Director Stevens said that IPR has created a “dummy” case file that could easily be used for developing such an index.
Director Stevens reviewed the items on the “goldenrod” hearing process information sheet. The first four bullets on the goldenrod sheet are the general guiding principles of the appeal process. Director Stevens discussed confidentiality requirements, including the right of appellants and officers to keep their names confidential. She suggested that this should be reinforced by the Chair before introductions are done at the beginning of the meeting and asking the parties if they object to using their names. Chair Miggins asked that the word “confidentiality” be placed in parentheses under “Introductions” in the agenda whenever there is a hearing, to remind the Chair to advise the appellants and officers of their right to confidentiality at that time.
Chair Miggins requested that the IAD Captain provide more thorough explanation of the investigation during the IAD presentation at hearings than is currently done. Director Stevens agreed to relay this suggestion to Captain Tellis. Chair Miggins suggested making the command staff presentation a separate item on the goldenrod information sheet (making it item #5).
The next item (new item #6) on the information sheet states “CRC discusses the case.” Director Stevens pointed out that the protocol actually reads, “CRC and IPR staff questions and discussion.” She suggested that this point in the hearing is intended to be CRC’s time to ask clarifying questions after hearing from both parties, IAD, and the commander.
Ms. Robison requested that an informational sheet such as the goldenrod handout be made available for every hearing. Director Stevens said that she has directed the IPR staff to have the goldenrod form included in the CRC packets every time there is a hearing.
Director Stevens encouraged CRC members to formally discuss policy and training issues at the conclusion of each hearing so that she can pass on their suggestions and comments to the Chief, the Training Division, or the appropriate unit commander. Ms. Robison commented that generally when the hearing has ended, most members feel the need for a break, and after the break, the discussion of policy and training issues is at times omitted. She suggested that if there is a break, the next item on the agenda should be the discussion of policy and training issues arising from the case. Chair Miggins suggested adding a break before the last item on the goldenrod information sheet. Director Stevens noted that, in addition to policy and training issues, CRC should also discuss quality of investigation issues at this point in the hearing process.
Ms. Rees said she would like to talk to the new CRC members about public records and public meetings. The CRC members agreed that it would be useful for her to review this information with the whole group after the new members are on board.
Director Stevens offered to redraft the goldenrod information sheet and give this to the Protocol Workgroup, which is currently considering changes to the appeal process.
V. Workgroup Updates
• Tow Policy Workgroup (Michael Bigham). The tow policy report (Officer Use of Vehicle Towing) was distributed. The report will be adopted at the next CRC meeting. Chief Sizer accepted all of the recommendations except #2 (Examine the use of impounds in any future study of bias-based policing. Conduct analysis to determine whether there are any patterns of impounds that should be addressed by the Bureau, including economic status, race, neighborhoods, or officers involved.) Mr. Bigham said that the workgroup had anecdotal evidence that led them to believe that there is a possibility that tows might be used in a bias-based way. The Chief thought that conducting this type of analysis would be too expensive in terms of resources. The CRC Chair has directed Mr. Bigham to present this report to the City Council after it is adopted. Mr. Bigham and Mr. Eriksson did an informal presentation to Commissioner Leonard, and Commissioner Leonard indicated to them that he was prepared to bring forward a resolution from Council requiring the Police Bureau to adopt all the recommendations. Mr. Bigham said that he and Mr. Eriksson did nothing to prompt or suggest this.
Chair Miggins allowed public comment on the tow policy report at this point. Mr. Dan Handelman said that the format of the report was unusual in that there was no cover letter explaining the policy review. The first thing that is seen in the report is the Chief’s letter, so it gives the appearance that the report came from the Police Bureau. Mr. Handelman also said that during the workgroup meetings there was discussion about adding footnotes saying that public input included comments about providing a sliding scale and comments about difficulties in the way the directives are numbered. Mr. Bigham responded that if he gives a presentation to City Council he plans to talk about the sliding scale. Director Stevens suggested that if the report is presented to Council, that would be an appropriate time to provide a cover memo from the Chair, in which these issues could be identified. Director Stevens suggested that the memo to Council be presented for adoption along with the tow policy report at the next meeting. Mr. Bigham said that the memo could also include the issue of “predatory tows,” which was outside the purview of the workgroup, but was discussed.
• Protocol Workgroup (Lewellyn Robison). A status report on the progress of this workgroup was provided in the meeting packets. The workgroup met on 10/8/07 to finalize the protocol on CRC Member Duties and Responsibilities (PSF-5.23). The next workgroup meeting is scheduled for Monday, 10/22/07, at The meeting will include discussion of the appeal process and a review of the mediation protocol (PSF-5.09). There was also interest expressed by the workgroup members in taking a look at PSF-5.18 -1 (Policy Review).
• Bias Based Policing Workgroup (Sherrelle Owens). Derek Reinke reported that the cases for review have been sampled and are prepared for the workgroup members to come in and begin reviewing files. There are three packets of files. Each workgroup member will review two-thirds of the files, so that at least two members will be reviewing each file. The next workgroup meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, 11/14/07 at . Ms. Owens offered to present the template that is being used for reviewing cases to the full CRC at their next meeting. Ms. Owens also offered to information about the overall goals of the Bias Based Policing workgroup to be included in the next month’s CRC meeting packet. Ms. Owens said that each workgroup member will be reviewing 32 files, and the goal is to have the review done by the end of this year. Ms. Owens said that the workgroup has accepted the idea of the workgroup working hand in hand or simultaneously with the Mayor’s Racial Profiling Committee. Ms. Owens is on the agenda for their meeting on 11/15/07 at to present what the workgroup is doing.
• PARC Report Review Workgroup (Michael Bigham) The workgroup met last month and elected a chair (Mr. Bigham). The workgroup has obtained copies of all the PARC reports and has asked IPR to prepare a table of PARC recommendations and Police Bureau response data. The next meeting is scheduled for 11/22/07 at to discuss this data and formulate a work plan.
VI. Action Item: Acceptance of Protocol PSF-5.23 (CRC Member Duties and Responsibilities)
The draft of this protocol was published on the IPR website for more than thirty days, and the final draft of this protocol was provided to all CRC members on 9/24/07 so they have all had an opportunity to review it. Ms. Robison stated Ms. Cooper was the only CRC member who provided comments on the wording of the final draft. After discussion of Ms. Coopers suggested changes, Ms. Robison moved that the protocol be adopted as written. Mr. Ueland seconded. After further discussion and public comment by Dan Handelman, the motion to adopt Protocol PSF-5.23 passed unanimously.
VII. Tracking List Update.
Because Mr. Milesnick was not present, this agenda item was deferred. Ms. Owens asked if Mr. Milesnick would still be eligible to serve on CRC if he is elected as county commissioner. Ms. Rees said she assumes that he could, but she offered to take a look at it.
VIII. Old Business
• Mr. Ueland said that in a previous meeting there were questions raised about liability issues. Ms. Rees offered to include these issues in the training that she will be providing when new members are brought on board.
• Ms. Owens said that at the previous meeting there was public comment proposing that CRC have joint meetings with different community groups at these groups’ regularly scheduled meetings. Ms. Owens said that at this point CRC has been meeting in community locations and invites people to come to these meetings, but this has not been effectively drawing the public and that the idea of joint meetings might be a better way of connecting with the public. Ms. Robison commented that it may not be necessary for the entire CRC to go to these meetings. Chair Miggins said that he thinks the concept of joint meetings is good, but that CRC members must be cautious to restrict discussions at these meetings to CRC matters and only to police matters that CRC is involved in.
IX. New Business
• Chair Miggins proposed forming a short-term Outreach Workgroup to discuss the idea of joint meetings with community groups. Chair Miggins agreed to chair the workgroup if two other CRC members agree to work with him on this. Ms. Owens and Ms. Robison volunteered to serve on this workgroup. The workgroup tentatively scheduled its first meeting on Saturday, 11/10/07 at at the Cadillac Café at NE 19th Avenue and Broadway.
• Director Stevens said that next month’s CRC meeting is scheduled to take place at the MattDishmanCommunity Center in North Portland. It was hoped to have speakers from the North Precinct Enhanced Safety Properties Pilot Program, but they will not be available for the November meeting. Chair Miggins said he would like to have someone talk about the Northeast Precinct Curfew Pilot Program. Director Stevens said that she would ask Commander Bret Smith to come to the meeting to answer questions about the program.
• Mr. Ueland suggested that another possible speaker for a future meeting might be a nurse or intake person from Hooper Detox to talk to CRC about the operation of the detox center and the quality of the work the police are doing at bringing people to detox.
• Chair Miggins said that he met for about two hours with Ms. Luna Firebaugh, who is conducting the review of IPR. He said that some of the issues that came up in the meeting led him to believe that they were asking leading questions, which as an auditor himself, he probably would not have been doing. Director Stevens clarified that reviewer is not an auditor and is not performing an audit or following audit standards, but is rather conducting a performance review. Mr. Ueland asked Mr. Handelman if the reviewer had spoken with him, and he replied that she did. Mr. Ueland commented that it appeared that CRC is getting a review of the way they operate without a chance to have any input. Ms. Red Thunder said that the reviewer was sending questionnaires to citizens who had gone through the complaint process, but was apparently having some problems getting people to respond. Mr. Miggins said that he does not know the expected outcome of the review or precisely what the reviewer has been asked to evaluate. Mr. Ueland said that it appears that the reviewer is going to evaluate the program from the testimony of people who have been complainants and appellants but that the review does not include asking all CRC members what they think of the system. Mr. Miggins said he advised Ms. Luna Firebaugh to contact two specific persons, one of whom is the Executive Director of the ACLU, but as of the previous week she had not contacted him.
X. Public Comments
• Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters) said that there was a specific RFP that was issued for the IPR review, and it can be obtained from Maria Rubio in the Mayor’s Office. Ms. Aiona supported CRC’s decision to set up a workgroup to discuss outreach to existing community groups. Ms. Aiona reminded CRC that Israel Bayer of Street Roots and Doreen Binder from Transition Projects have both said that the people they work with would welcome meeting with CRC members and share their experiences with police. Ms. Aiona thought that Director Stevens’s presentation on the appeals process was most helpful both for CRC members and community members. Ms. Aiona thought it would be a good outreach if the media were to do an article about the tow policy report to show the public an example of CRC’s accomplishments.
• Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch) expressed concerns that the IPR disposition letter to potential appellants does not include a request to appeal form, so they have to take an extra step to call IPR to request the form or look for it online. Mr. Handelman thought that IPR should be consistent in reviewing the complaint histories of officers who are investigated. Mr. Handelman said he was pleased to hear that the policy recommendations that are made at the end of a hearing might be shared with the Police Bureau in the form of a letter. Mr. Handelman thought it would be beneficial to invite the ACLU or someone from the civil liberties standpoint to present another point of view about the curfew program in addition to the commander and the D.A. Mr. Handelman offered his opinion that the ordinance allows for CRC to hear new evidence during a hearing, while for City Council hearings, no new evidence may be introduced. He said that it logically follows that if there was not enough investigation done or an allegation may have been missed, the case should be sent back for more investigation before going forward with voting on whether to affirm or challenge the findings.
XI. Wrap-up Comments
Ms. Owens said that it would be helpful to have more than one perspective on issues that are being presented and discussed, such as the landlord and curfew pilot programs.