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December 18, 2007

 

Minutes

Citizen Review Committee

December 18, 2007

Approved: January 15, 2008

 

CRC Members Present:  Michael Bigham, Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, Mark Johnson, Hank Miggins, Sherrelle Owens (arrived at 5:40 pm), Lewellyn Robison, Robert Ueland (arrived at 5:50 pm)

 

CRC Members Absent:  Robert Milesnick (excused)

 

CRC Nominee Present:  JoAnn Jackson

 

City Staff Present:  Gary Blackmer (City Auditor), Leslie Stevens (IPR Director), Mike Hess (IPR), Linley Rees (City Attorney)

 

Police Bureau Members Present:  Captain John Tellis (IAD)

 

Chair Miggins called the meeting to order at 5:44 pm.

 

I.   Introductions and welcome

 

II.  Approval of the Minutes of the November 20, 2007, CRC Meeting:  Ms. Robison moved to approve the minutes as written.  Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion.  The motion passed by a vote of 8-0. 

 

III.  Director's Report (Director Stevens)

 

In response to previous inquiries from the CRC, Ms. Rees (City Attorney) provided the following information:

  • A review of both the City and County codes and charters indicated there are no prohibitions to a sitting CRC member running for public office or even serving in an elected office. In fact, there are a number of City boards which include public officials as well as citizens. There could be a perception of conflict of interest.
  • CRC members who work on political campaigns, recalls or measures are covered by the city ethics rules. Ms. Linley said that at a CRC meeting or when representing the CRC campaigning is prohibited. The wearing of political buttons is permitted. Ms. Stevens stated she would provide CRC members with the October 2007 memorandum on "Election Laws and City Employees" which is applicable to volunteers.
  • There is nothing addressing a CRC member who has sat on a PPB Performance Review Board subsequently hearing a complaint appeal on the same issue. However, there may be a perception of conflict and information is provided to the Performance Review Board which is not available to the CRC. Mr. Eriksson and Ms. Robison, two members who also serve on the board, indicated they probably would recuse themselves. Ms. Stevens suggested the CRC develop a protocol to cover this matter. Chair Miggins directed the Protocol Workgroup to look into developing a new protocol, although he did not think it necessary.

Ms. Stevens requested that the hearing for appeal #2007-X-0008 be in February rather than January because of the holidays and staffing constraints.

 

The PPB has issued no new directives in the past month.

 

The new protocols on tort claims and CRC member responsibilities have been published and can be found on the web site.  The public comment period on the revisions to the mediation protocol ends this Friday.

 

City Auditor Blackmer and Director Stevens made a farewell presentation to Mr. Ueland in recognition of his outstanding community service.  Mr. Ueland, who is leaving the CRC on December 31, 2007, has sat on the CRC since its inception and previously served on PIAC.

 

IV.  Discussion of investigative files for appeal #2007-X-0008.

 

Chair Miggins reminded everyone that this discussion was about the contents of the file and not the facts of the appeal.  Ms. Robison, Mr. Miggins and Ms. Cooper each pointed out that there were unrelated items in the case file that detracted from the merits of the investigation.  IAD/IPR was notified at the time of the discoveries and promptly addressed the issues.  Ms. Robison, Mr. Eriksson and Ms. Cooper each noted that some of the questions in the interviews appeared to be leading, could be answered by a yes or no, or were scenario based.  But none felt that further investigation be requested. 

 

Ms. Owens stated that there appeared to be a missing allegation.  Ms. Stevens disagreed and stated that identifying missing allegations was not the responsibility of the CRC.  In this instance, she will take no further action as 3 of the 5 allegations were sustained and additional discipline would not be imposed on the officer.  Since there appeared to be some confusion about the purpose of this discussion, Chair Miggins reiterated that we were discussing the completeness of the investigation and the inclusion of all supporting documents. Ms. Robison pointed out that the Audit Work Sheet , which was used for the file review, asked if all the allegations had been identified.  Mr. Bigham asked who was responsible for adding allegations.  Ms. Stevens responded that the CRC can ask IPR/IAD to add an allegation.  Mr. Eriksson said that the public is excluded if the matter is brought to IPR/IAD in private.  It would be better to raise the matter in a CRC meeting, as Ms. Owens did.  Ms. Stevens replied that the public is currently excluded from the investigation.  Mr. Blackmer pointed out that there could be a timeliness issue if the matter were not addressed until the next CRC meeting.  It was agreed to bring these matters to the attention of IPR and/or IAD at the time of discovery and also raise them at the CRC meeting.  Mr. Handelman (Portland Copwatch) suggested that the CRC vote on whether or not there is a missing allegation.  Chair Miggins responded that the CRC could raise the issue but had no authority to vote on it.  Ms. Owens noted that she could not divulge the information in the meeting. Director Stevens and Ms. Owens agreed to discuss the issue.

 

Ms. Cooper questioned whether a police officer was required to state which jurisdiction he worked for when identifying himself.  Captain Tellis replied that police officer authority is statewide so there is no need to state the jurisdiction.  Further, that depending on the circumstances, it could be inappropriate for a police officer to identify himself.

 

Ms. Cooper expressed concerns about obtaining medical information in light of HIPPA rules.  Ms. Stevens advised that HIPPA doesn't apply to the CRC as the CRC does not maintain medical records, but that the CRC is required to comply with City confidentiality rules.  Ms. Stevens pointed out that should the appellant divulge the information, there would be no prohibition against discussing it. City Attorney Reese reiterated that the CRC does not have a HIPPA obligation and that a medical waiver isn't requested in all cases.  It was agreed that medical information was not germane to this appeal.  Ms. Cooper suggested that, should it be required in future appeals, the request be made to the appellant prior to the hearing to afford him time to consider the request. 

 

Mr. Miggins stated that any workgroup reviewing case files include looking for missed allegations.  Ms. Robison suggested that rather than doing a quality review solely on a case-by-case basis, it would be better to periodically conduct a review of a statistical sampling of closed files as was done by a workgroup several years ago. Chair Miggins requested Mr. Eriksson to ensure that establishing a workgroup to do so be added to the Tracking List.

 

In response to Chair Miggins' inquiry about the test process, both Mr. Bigham and Ms. Stevens said it was of value.

 

After discussion of this appeal in particular and the process in general, it was decided that:

  • Issues, including potentially missed allegations, identified by any CRC member during the file review would immediately be addressed to IPR/IAD as well as brought to the attention of the full committee at the next meeting.
  • On a vote of 8-0, this appeal will be scheduled for the February meeting.
  • The test of this procedure would continue for 3 months. If there were no hearings, the CRC would extend the time frame.

Capt. Tellis encouraged the CRC to contact him or Lt. Famous whenever there appeared a problem in the case file documentation.

 

Ms. Cooper made a motion to ask the appellant for a medical information release.  There was no second and the motion died.           

                                                                          

V.   Workgroup Updates

  • The Tow Policy Workgroup (Mr. Bigham) stated that the workgroup did not meet in December. Mr. Miggins (CRC Chair), Mr. Eriksson and he would be making a presentation of the "Officer Use of Vehicle Towing Report" to the City Council on January 9, 2008, at 9:30 am. They would be meeting with IPR Director Stevens some time before then. Mr. Miggins expressed concerns about the difficulties in implementing recommendation #2 which calls for assessing racial bias in towing practices.
  • The Protocol Workgroup (Ms. Robison) reiterated that the discussion of the case was a test to determine its value before formalizing the process in the rewrite of the appeal hearing protocol (5.03) and that the test would run for three months unless extended by the CRC. The workgroup will meet on Monday, January 7, 2008, at 2:30 pm.
  • The Bias Based Policing Workgroup (Ms. Owens) stated that their case review speaks to missing allegations. Ms. Owens reported that Mr. Johnson will be joining the workgroup. Completion of the 32 case file review is targeted for February 28, 2008. The workgroup is on the agenda of the Mayor's racial profiling committee for 3:00 pm on January 17, 2008. The next meeting of the workgroup is Wednesday, January 16, 2008, at noon. Ms. Owens re-handed out copies of the workgroup's mission statement, overview and objectives. She stated that questions had been asked about the meaning of "patterns" in the mission statement. It means areas of repeated concern that should be addressed in the workgroup product.
  • The PARC (Police Assessment Resource Center) Report Review Workgroup (Mr. Bigham) rescheduled the December meeting for January 14, 2008, at noon. They are reviewing recommendations from the report and will have a better idea of the scope of the project then.
  • The Outreach Workgroup (Mr. Miggins) is on hold pending the completion of the study on how the IPR can most effectively reach out to the community. He expects the workgroup will meet to provide input on CRC's outreach objectives to the consultant.

Chair Miggins admonished the Workgroup Chairs to send minutes of the workgroup meetings to Mr. Hess via e-mail.

 

VI.  Old Business

  • Mr. Miggins presented a memo to the CRC, entitled "Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation Inter-governmental Agreement", expressing concerns about the accountability of officers from other jurisdictions assigned to the Transit Division. These officers are not required to follow the rules to which the Portland Police Bureau officers are subject. This has made it difficult to answer the complaints of citizens and, in some cases, has hindered completion of the IAD investigation. He then asked what action, if any, should be taken. Mr. Bigham said this is a very important matter; not only do the other officers need to be held accountable, but they need to be responsive to IAD inquiries. Capt. Tellis said it is unlikely we will succeed in holding other officers accountable to PPB policies, but we could obtain cooperation with IAD investigations. Mr. Johnson stated that we have to have cooperation: if you witness an event, you ought to respond to IAD. Mr. Blackmer suggested that the President of TriMet be sent the memo. Ms. Stevens said she had been advised that the Transit Commander is working on this issue. However, the Commander is being transferred, so she will follow up on this. Mr. Johnson suggested the Chief, PPB, also receive a copy of the memo and that the CRC should follow up on this. Capt. Tellis pointed out the Transit Division is part of the PPB for administrative purposes only. TriMet has contracted with the PPB for this service, is separately funded and establishes its own mission requirements. Although, the Transit Division sergeants, who may be from any of the participating jurisdictions, do provide daily supervision, each officer is accountable to his own jurisdiction. If there is a conflict in procedures, those of the home agency take precedence. In addition, there are different standards of conduct and labor negations in the various jurisdictions. Mr. Erikkson said the draft should go to TriMet and the CRC should stay in touch with the Transit Commander. He volunteered to assist Mr. Miggins. Mr. Miggins stated that in light of the concerns expressed he would get together with Mr. Eriksson to revise the memo. An update would be provided in the January CRC meeting. Ms. Cooper asked if the CRC's authority extended to TriMet. Ms. Stevens said that it did not, except when PPB sworn officers were involved. Mr. Blackmer said it would do no harm, but it is a policy matter on policing in Portland and it does result in complaints.
  • Mr. Ueland asked about the status of the IPR/CRC review. Ms. Stevens said the report is due January 17, 2008. CRC members noted that not all of them were interviewed by the contractor, Ms. Luna-Firebaugh.
  • Ms. Cooper asked how the contractor publicized meetings to obtain community input. The only meeting she was aware of was the one sponsored by Portland Copwatch. No one knew of other meetings.
  • Ms. Stevens said that Ms. Reese will do the training on public records requirements, public meetings requirements and Robert's Rules of Order during the January CRC meeting. Ms. Cooper also asked that HIPPA and SAMSA be addressed. Mr. Blackmer suggested that the organization of the Office of the City Attorney be addressed.

VII.  New Business

 

Chair Miggins reminded CRC members to review Protocol 5.22 on the election of officers as the elections will be held during the February meeting.

 

VIII.  Public Comments

  • Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters) agreed with Ms. Cooper on the HIPPA issues and said that it would be more considerate to request this information from the appellant prior to the hearing. Ms. Aiona inquired about the status of filling IPR's Outreach Coordinator position. Ms. Stevens responded that, after reviewing the skills and abilities of the applicants, it was decided to first determine the best ways to reach out to the community and then hire the person who could best accomplish the goals.
  • Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch) expressed concerns about the information available to the CRC and the Performance Review Board. He also said that the discussion of the investigative file review was confusing to the public since they had no information on the file; even a one sentence description would be helpful. The CRC should use the checklist for the case review. In other jurisdiction, the civilian review boards make recommendations on discipline. He noted that, at least once in the past, the CRC had requested that additional allegations be addressed and returned the file for further investigation. This would strengthen the CRC's position. Mr. Handelman pointed out that the ACLU and Portland Copwatch invited Ms. Luna-Firebaugh to speak to their constituencies. It was not part of her work plan. Mr. Handelman had hoped the CRC and the public would have an opportunity to comment on the PPB's revised use of force directive before it was issued.

IX.  Wrap-up Comments

  • Mr. Eriksson clarified that the Performance Review Board precedes any appeal hearing. Ms. Stevens noted that the PRB includes information such as disciplinary actions which are not in the investigative files.
  • Mr. Miggins reiterated that he has no objection to obtaining medical information, but not if it doesn't pertain to the allegations and findings in the investigative file.
  • Ms. Cooper stated she wanted to give the appellant additional time to consider the request for medical information if it might be discussed during the appeal hearing.

Chair Miggins adjourned the meeting at 7:47 pm.