Citizen Review Committee
May 20, 2008
Approved June 17, 2008
Meeting Location: Lovejoy Room, Portland City Hall
CRC Members Present: Michael Bigham, Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, JoAnn Jackson, Mark Johnson, Sherrelle Owens,
CRC Members Absent: Hank Miggins; Robert Milesnick (excused); Lewellyn Robison (excused)
City Staff Present: Pete Sandrock (Acting IPR Director), Mary-Beth Baptista (new IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR)
Police Bureau Members Present: Leslie Stevens (Director, Office of Professional Standards), Captain John Tellis (IAD), Lieutenant David Famous (IAD), Sergeant Robert King (President, PPA)
Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 5:34 p.m.
I. Introductions and welcome
II. Approval of the Minutes of the 4/15/08 CRC Meeting: Mr. Eriksson moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Johnson seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
III. Guest Speaker: Leslie Stevens, Director, Office of Professional Standards, Portland Police Bureau
Director Stevens presented an overview the newly created Office of Professional Standards and the Employee Information System and answered questions from CRC and community members.
IV. Director's Report (Acting Director Sandrock)
On 5/29/08 Ms. Mary-Beth Baptista will begin work as the new IPR Director.
For the 2008-09 fiscal year, Auditor Blackmer requested two new IPR positions: CRC support and an investigator/assistant director. The CRC support position was not approved. The City Council is still deliberating on the other position.
No appeal requests have been filed. 19 cases have closed, 10 of which have not yet reached the appeal deadline.
Regarding current caseloads, there are 21 cases that are pending completion of the initial IPR investigation or the Director's screening decision. The number of pending cases and median age of cases have been significantly reduced over the past two months. 38 cases are currently under investigation in IAD, and 16 cases are awaiting assignment. There are currently 9 Service Complaints pending at the precincts.
The latest IPR quarterly report was released on 4/25/08. CRC's thoughts and suggestions on the new format and content are welcome. IPR Office Manager Carol Kershner did an excellent job on creating the new format.
V. Workgroup Updates
Bias Based Policing Workgroup (Chair: Sherrelle Owens). The file review process is progressing well. It is expected that file reviews will be completed by June 18 and data compilation will begin. At their next meeting, which is scheduled for June 18 from 12 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., the workgroup will discuss what their next steps will be.
Acting Director Sandrock asked Ms. Owens if the workgroup is getting all the support they need from IPR Senior Management Analyst Derek Reinke. Ms. Owens replied, "Absolutely." Mr. Sandrock then asked Ms. Owens if the workgroup is getting full access to IPR files. Ms. Owens replied, "We're getting full access to the files and full access to the recordings." Ms. Owens added that some of the workgroup members have a difficult time coming in during the day because of their jobs, and Derek has committed several times to staying after hours and coming in on weekends to allow members to review the files. Mr. Johnson and Ms. Jackson echoed Ms. Owens's comments.
PARC Report Review Workgroup (Chair: Michael Bigham). The workgroup has had a couple of meetings since the last monthly CRC meeting. They met with Captain Hendricks of the Training Division and Commander Eckhart of the Detective Division regarding their roles in officer involved shootings investigations and how these relate to PARC recommendations. The next meeting of the workgroup is scheduled for June 2 from 11:00 a.m. At that time the workgroup will attempt to put all their data together and see where they stand and what they will do next. Mr. Bigham said that Derek Reinke has also been very helpful to the PARC Workgroup.
Service Complaint Workgroup (Mr. Johnson). This workgroup has scheduled their first meeting for May 27 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The workgroup will discuss the scope of the workgroup and whether this will include a review of IPR dismissals as well as service complaints.
VI. Tracking List Update: Ms. Owens said that she has still not received a prior tracking list from Mr. Milesnick. Since taking on the responsibility for the Tracking List, the only item Ms. Owens currently has on the Tracking List is to get the commander of the Transit Division on the June CRC agenda to present a follow-up on Transit Division issues. Mike Hess announced that Commander Jarmer has said that he will be available for the June CRC meeting.
[At this point Mr. Tim Kopet, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 117 of Northeast Portland, brought his Boy Scout troop in to observe the remainder of the CRC meeting.]
VII. Discussion of the Luna-Firebaugh Report. Chair Bigham began by apologizing for the way he handled the small group meetings to discuss follow-up to the Luna-Firebaugh report. He then said that he has mapped out some general areas of concern to CRC, including the following: community outreach; review of the complaint process; and greater involvement of CRC with the Mayor's Office and the City Council. Mr. Johnson added the following areas of concern: CRC's role in hearing appeals; independent investigations by IPR rather than by IAD; CRC training; and CRC's involvement in developing allegations; and the apparent decline in mediation cases. Public comments about the Luna-Firebaugh Report were provided by Ms. Aiona and Mr. Handelman.
VIII. Old Business
Mr. Eriksson gave a very positive assessment of the Use of Force Review Board in which he recently participated.
IX. New Business
X. Wrap-up Comments by CRC Members: Mr. Eriksson suggested that CRC as a group needs to address the problems associated with bringing a small group of members together to discuss sensitive issue, such as the Luna-Firebaugh report, and then bringing their ideas back to the full CRC. Ms. Jackson suggested that when an email is sent to CRC members asking for participation on a particular issue that there could be a specified time frame to respond so that all members would have an opportunity to participate even if they do not see the email immediately. Ms. Owens suggested that issues that are not critical and not requiring immediate follow-up could be discussed as new business at a full CRC meeting, at which time members would have an opportunity to voice where there interests lie and a decision could then be made on which members would be assigned to follow up on a particular issue. For the sake of transparency, the issue could then be brought to a full CRC meeting and discussed in a manner that would not breach confidentiality.
XI. Public Comments
Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters) agreed with Ms. Owens's suggestion for choosing CRC members to participate in specific processes, such as the IPR Director screening and interview, for example. Ms. Aiona said that having the Director's Report writing reflects the value of transparency that was emphasized in the Luna-Firebaugh report. She said that she thought that Director Stevens's presentation was excellent and directly relevant to CRC's work.
Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch) said that the distinction between the Employee Information System and the Early Warning System continues to be confusing after Director Stevens's presentation. Mr. Handelman said that there should be more community input before new methods are adopted by the Police Bureau, such as longer range Tasers. He also thought that there should be more information provided to the public about the results of the Use of Force and Performance Review Board.
Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 7:36 p.m.