Citizen Review Committee
April 15, 2008
Approved May 20, 2008
Meeting Location: Rose Room, Portland City Hall
CRC Members Present: Michael Bigham, Loren Eriksson, JoAnn Jackson, Mark Johnson, Hank Miggins, Sherrelle Owens, Lewellyn Robison
CRC Members Absent: Josephine Cooper (excused), Robert Milesnick (excused)
City Staff Present: Gary Blackmer (City Auditor), Pete Sandrock (Acting IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR), Maria Rubio (Mayor's Office)
Police Bureau Members Present: Captain John Tellis (IAD)
Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 5:33 p.m.
I. Introductions and welcome
II. Approval of the Minutes of the 3/18/08 CRC Meeting: Mr. Johnson moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Miggins seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
III. Director's Report (Acting Director Sandrock)
Twenty-four applicants submitted letters and resumes to the Bureau of Human Resources (BHR) by the April 9 deadline. BHR has completed the screening process, and thirteen applications have been forwarded to the City Auditor. The next step will be for the Auditor to convene a panel to review the applications. Josey Cooper and Lewellyn Robison will represent CRC on the panel. Assistant Director Sandrock will also be on the panel, as well as another person to be nominated. The Auditor and Mayor met on April 9 to discuss the hiring process, the kinds of characteristics they thought would be important for a Director, and the general size and composition of an interview panel. They agreed that there will be only one interview panel. They will talk again about appointees to the panel, trying to develop a representative panel. They also agreed that the Mayor's Office will help facilitate a series of neighborhood meetings for the new Director to meet people in the neighborhoods. The target job offer date is May 15, but even if this target date is reached, the actual date the new Director would be on board would still be uncertain.
(Auditor Blackmer stated that Chair Bigham has offered to serve on the interview panel, and the Mayor has said he would like to work with Auditor Blackmer on a couple of the appointees. Auditor Blackmer said that they are looking at six to eight persons on the interview panel, representing a wide range of interests.)
The Auditor, CRC Chair, and Acting Director have begun discussing a framework for addressing the issues raised by the City Council about the IPR/CRC process, but at this time our efforts are focused on hiring a new Director and keeping up with the caseload. Issues that seemed most prominent were community outreach, staff support for CRC, IPR investigations, CRC review of IPR case-handling decisions, and a closer working relationship between CRC and the City Council. No decisions have been made about process or substance. The eventual goal is to present the City Council with a menu of options that have been developed collaboratively that address the issues that the City Council raised. CRC members will be full partners in developing whatever goes forward.
No appeals are pending. So far in 2008, 9 cases have become eligible for appeal. The deadlines have expired on 7 of those cases. Two deadlines come due in another week.
The only new PPB directive is one regarding All Terrain Vehicles.
Regarding current caseloads, there are 60 cases that are pending completion of the initial IPR investigation or the Director's screening decision. The number of pending cases is starting to edge down. In IAD, there are 35 active investigations (up from 31 last month). 27 are citizen-initiated (up from 20), 6 are Bureau-initiated (down from 8), and 2 are IPR-initiated as a result of tort claim reviews (down from 3). There are 16 additional cases waiting for assignment for investigation. Mr. Sandrock expects that the number of cases awaiting assignment will increase for number of months before it gets better. There are currently 9 Service Complaints pending at the precincts.
In an April 10, 2008 article The Oregonian profiled eight different incidents involving use of force by Portland Police officers. Five of the eight incidents are at IAD now and are either under active investigation or awaiting assignment for investigation. IPR was aware of seven of the eight incidents. On one of the incidents, the individual did not a complaint with IPR. If he filed a tort claim, the Acting Director found no basis in it for opening a case. Of the other seven, three of them were initiated by the citizens themselves, and the other four were IPR-initiated cases that were picked up in Acting Director Sandrock's review of tort claims.
Captain Tellis explained that IAD anticipates a 3-4 month gap in one or more investigator positions. Up until May 1, IAD will be down to one sergeant and four civilian investigators (retired homicide and robbery detectives). Between May 1 and July 1 IAD will have only the four civilian investigators. Captain Tellis and the Bureau submitted a budget request to the Mayor to fill the four vacant positions with civilian investigators, which would bring IAD up to its authorized strength of eight investigators. If funding can be found, he hopes to have hired these additional investigators by October 1.
IV. Workgroup Updates
Bias Based Policing Workgroup (Chair: Sherrelle Owens). The presentation to the Mayor's Racial Profiling Committee went very well, and a follow-up presentation on the results of the workgroup was requested. The workgroup met on 4/9/08 to touch bases on their progress. The file review is almost completed. When the file review is completed, the workgroup will look at where they are going from that point. The next meeting of the workgroup is scheduled for Wednesday 5/14/08 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Mr. Sandrock asked Ms. Owens how many hours the workgroup members have put into this effort. Ms. Owens said that it takes her an average of 45 minutes to review each file, and each member has been assigned 32 files and will be assigned an additional 4 files. (This comes to 27 hours per member for file review alone.)
PARC Report Review Workgroup (Chair: Michael Bigham). The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 4/21/08 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. Captain Hendricks of the Training Division has been invited to discuss training issues relating to the PARC report. Leslie Stevens has been asked to meet with the workgroup in May or June to discuss the Employee Information System.
Service Complaint Workgroup. This workgroup has not yet met, and a chair has not yet been selected. Members are Lewellyn Robison, Robert Milesnick, and Mark Johnson. Mr. Johnson offered to arrange a meeting.
Protocol Workgroup (Chair: Lewellyn Robison). Continues suspended.
Outreach Workgroup (Chair: Hank Miggins). Continues suspended.
V. Tracking List: Ms. Owens has not yet obtained the tracking list from Mr. Milesnick. Nothing new on tracking at this time.
VI. Old Business
Mr. Miggins asked when the Transit Division commander said he would get back with CRC. Chair Bigham said that he thought the commander was going to get back with them in 60 days or 90 days.
VII. New Business
Mr. Eriksson said that tomorrow (4/16/08) he will be serving on a Use of Force Review Board. He has been on several Performance Review Boards, but this is the first time he has been on a Use of Force Review Board. He said that tomorrow's case deals with a shooting of a robbery suspect in which the suspect was wounded. Mr. Eriksson said that he will not be at liberty to discuss the case itself, but at the next CRC meeting he would share his impressions of the process.
Ms. Owens said she would add to the tracking list that the Transit Division commander will be asked to come back at a future CRC meeting to follow up on questions CRC had on accountability with officers assigned to the Transit Division from outside agencies.
Mr. Miggins asked about ride-alongs. Acting Director Sandrock said he would try to set up a schedule of open slots for ride-alongs for the next thirty days or so and CRC members may then choose a time slot that will work for them. Mr. Johnson said that he has been on a ride-along with East Precinct and he eventually would like to have a ride-along in each precinct.
Auditor Blackmer said that he and Chair Bigham have talked a little bit about the recommendations from the consultant's report that the Mayor is interested in following through on, a number of which involve CRC. Auditor Blackmer said he is beginning to consider options for ways in which CRC could review cases in which complainants disagree with IPR's screening decisions. Auditor Blackmer asked Chair Bigham how he would like to go about this. Chair Bigham replied that he thought they would talk about this when they meet on Thursday.
Speaking to IPR staffing issues, Auditor Blackmer said that IPR would fill the vacant outreach position after the new Director is hired. He also explained that by using a combination of existing funding and new funding that has been added to the City's proposed budget for FY 08-09, IPR will be able to add a full-time senior position to assist the Director. His budget request for an additional outreach position, which would provide increased support for CRC, was not approved. There is still, however, a possibility of contracting with an expert to develop outreach strategies and plans.
VIII. Wrap-up Comments: None
IX. Public Comments
Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters) suggested that IPR check with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement for ideas on outreach. She suggested including discussion of the 2005-2006 IPR/CRC annual report as a future agenda item. Ms. Aiona said she was disappointed that this time there will not be community interview panels for IPR Director finalists as there were the last time a new Director was selected.
Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch) agreed with Ms. Aiona about the community interview panels for the Director position. He also expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that appointments for the resume review panel and interview panel were apparently made outside of CRC meetings. Mr. Handelman asked if the meeting with Auditor Blackmer that Chair Bigham referred to would be a public meeting.
Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 6:30 p.m.