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June 17, 2008

Minutes

Citizen Review Committee

June 17, 2008

Approved July 15, 2008

 

 

Meeting Location:  Lovejoy Room, Portland City Hall

 

CRC Members Present:  Michael Bigham, Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, JoAnn Jackson, Hank Miggins, Sherrelle Owens, Lewellyn Robison

 

CRC Members Absent:  Mark Johnson (excused); Robert Milesnick

 

City Staff Present: Gary Blackmer (City Auditor), Mary-Beth Baptista (IPR Director), Derek Reinke (IPR), Stephanie Harper (Assistant City Attorney)

 

Police Bureau Members Present:  Leslie Stevens (Director, Office of Professional Standards), Lieutenant David Famous (IAD) , Sergeant Robert King (PPA), Assistant Chief Brian Martinek (PPB), Sergeant Mike Marshman, (PPB), Commander Vince Jarmer (PPB)

 

Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m.

 

I.           Introductions and welcome

 

 

II.      

Approval of minutes of the May 20, 2008, CRC meeting.  Mr. Eriksson moved to approve the minutes as written.  Ms. Jackson seconded.  The motion passed unanimously.  Mr. Miggins and Ms. Robison abstained.

 

 

III.        Guest Speaker:  Assistant Chief Brian Martinek, Portland Police Bureau

 

Assistant Chief Martinek presented an overview of the Bureau's Use of Force Review Board, which addresses officer involved shootings, in-custody deaths, serious injuries caused by officers, and other significant cases; and the Performance Review Board.  He provided CRC members with an outline of the process and copies of the new Bureau Directives 335.00 Use of Force Review Boards and 336.00 Performance Review Boards.  He pointed out that all persons sitting on the boards must read the entire case file before the board meets and that all matters before the board are confidential.

 

In brief, there are 8 voting members on the force board - the 3 branch chiefs, 2 peers, 2 citizens, and the member's RU manager.  The performance board has 6 - only 1 peer member and 1 citizen member.  Advisory members for both are representatives from Human Resources, the City Attorney's Office, IAD, IPR, and the review board coordinator.  The facts of the case are presented by the Detective Division and IAD.  The Training Division addresses training matters.  The member's commanding officer, the member, and the member's union representative may also speak.  There is no discussion of the issues, but board members may ask questions to gain additional information or clarification.  The board then goes into executive session where the case is discussed, determination is made of what, if any, disciplinary action should be recommended, and what, if any, changes to policy and/or training should be recommended.  All recommendations are voted on and a memo is sent to the Chief with the board's recommendations.

 

Ms. Jackson asked if there was a definite number for a majority opinion and whether the Chief could ignore the board's recommendation.  Assistant Chief Martinek responded that generally there was a clear majority agreement on the findings, but that the range of votes and any objections to a major decision would be reported to the Chief, and yes, the Chief could ignore the board's recommendation, but he does not recall that happening in the 18 months of his tenure.  Ms. Owens asked about the percentage of Use of Force Board sustained and out-of-policy findings.  Assistant Chief Martinek stated that, of the 8-9 use of force cases in his experience, there were only 2 such instances,.  Ms. Jackson asked when the union involvement in the grievance process occurred and was told it occurred after the Chief"s determination.  Mr. Eriksson stated that he thought the process was very transparent.  Assistant Chief Martinek agreed that it was very transparent given the confidentiality of officers and witnesses and the disciplinary system.

 

Mr. Eriksson, representing CRC's PARC (Police Accountability Resource Center) Review Workgroup, posed the following questions, based on PARC report recommendations, to Assistant Chief Martinek, whose responses follow:

 

-PARC Recommendation 2005.8 states:  "The PPB should promulgate the policies and procedures necessary to require an administrative investigation by Internal Affairs and an explicit determination that medical aid is appropriately and timely rendered, following the use of deadly force and whenever a person is seriously injured."  Is it explicit or just implied?  This is part of the review and is investigated by Internal Affairs and by the Training Division.  Policies and procedures are not in either of the (board) protocols but are in the general policy.  Ms. Stevens said that when IAD does a policy review, they review the entire PPB manual.  In addition, the bureau policy on medical aid has been rewritten to amplify the responsibilities of the officers.  It is the job of the review board members to ensure that all issues have been addressed.

 

-Recommendation 2006.2 states:  "Starting with the next appointments or reappointments, the PPB should make public the names of the citizens who are members of the Force and Performance board pools."  The workgroup has heard this will be done next time.  Do you think that will be done by press release?  The other part of the workgroup's question, which is a little different from PARC's, is that PPB has stated that the current pool of citizens' names would be released and made public if they are asked.  Does the PPB want to do that by a press release as well?  The citizen members agreed to having their names released provided they were not linked to a particular case.  I thought a press release had been issued, but I will follow up on this.  Mr. Eriksson stated that it would be good to issue a press release when new citizen members are selected.  Assistant Chief Martinek concurred.

 

-Recommendation 2006.3 states:  "The PPB should provide a comprehensive orientation to the present and future peer members of the Force Board."  It doesn't seem that there is a comprehensive orientation at this time for the peers.  When officers volunteer to be a peer member, their supervisor reviews the procedures with them.  In addition, I sit down with each peer member before the board meets and go over the information provided in the handout.  The PPA also provides information.  Developing a more thorough program is on our to-do list.

 

-Recommendation 2006.6 states:  "The PPB should notify Force Board members of the final outcome of cases in which they participate."  We know that PPB is doing this now.  Is there a reason that PPB cannot do this for the Performance Board as well?  I know of no reason why this could not be done.  However, because of confidentiality matters, there is a limit on what can be said.  Also, these cases take a long time to be resolved.  I see no reason why we could not relate the disposition of the case in very general terms.  

 

-Recommendation 2006.10 states:  "In addition to submitting full written findings to the Chief related to each determination it makes (and each minority position, if any), the Force Board should document not only each determination it makes but also which members voted for or against that determination, or abstained."  We think that part of this is being done.  We don't think that the tally of how many voted for what is being given to the Chief. The Chief is provided with a tally of the vote, for example 4-3 in favor, but, in keeping with the confidentiality of the process, not how each member voted.

-Recommendation 2006.13 states:  "The PPB should further emphasize scenarios in academy and in-service training that help officers weigh the types of risks in dangerous situations, the availability and desirability of additional resources, and the types of exigent circumstances that would influence each tactical alternative."  How is this being done?  The PPB emphasizes scenarios, or situational training, in all training.  We are focusing on decision making, including when not to use force, but are limited by a lack of facilities.  Auditor Blackmer stated his definition of "scenarios" would allow for classroom training. 

 

Ms. Owens asked about the recruitment process for citizen members of the boards.  How are they selected?  What is the term of office?  Who appoints them?  What efforts have been made to ensure cultural diversity within the pool?  Assistant Chief Martinek said that the PPB only recruited for citizen members once before and many of the selectees were already active volunteers.  We do not have a handle on how to conduct future recruitments.  We will rely heavily on current citizen members to recommend candidates in the future.  All CRC members are welcome to apply.  The Chief made the appointments.  Originally they were for 2 years, but now members serve at the discretion of the Chief.  I know efforts were made to ensure a culturally diverse citizen pool.  There are some statistics on this.  I will get them for you.  Ms. Owens expressed concerns about the pool becoming too stagnant.  Both Assistant Chief Martinek and Ms. Stevens stated that members of the pool had commented to them that they would like to be assigned more frequently.

 

Mr. Reinke suggested that this statistical information about the boards be included in IPR's quarterly and annual reports. 

 

In his closing remarks, Assistant Chief Martinek said they were working on improving timeliness to expedite case processing.  They are conducting a system design analysis and have already made changes.  Steps include concurrent processing of IAD and Detective Division investigations and relocating the officer assigned to reviewing the training to the Justice Building to minimize his assignment to other activities.

 

After a discussion of the Responsible Unit Manager's responsibility for report writing, including the difference between the PPB multi-use form entitled "After Action Report" and the required reports, Chair Bigham stated the workgroup would clarify the issue for the PARC report. 

 

Ms. Cooper asked how the bureau was handling the obtaining the information on when medical assistance was requested.  There appears to be some commonality, i.e., life-or-death matters, confidentiality, bureaucracy, etc., with the medical community and had they looked to them for advice?  Sergeant Marshman said they had checked with other police bureaus and agencies and had gone to the private sector.  Ms. Cooper offered to provide contacts in the medical community.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Handelman (Portland Copwatch) said there is some confusion between transparency and thoroughness.  The process is not transparent because information is not provided to the public.  He would like to see statistics about board activities.  He questioned whether the 2 out-of-policy findings were due to inappropriate use-of-force policies or other policies.

 

IV.        Transit Division Issues

 

Commander Vince Jarmer, PPB Transit Police Division (TPD) discussed actions taken, or to be taken, to increase accountability and improve performance and service delivery of TPD members to the community.  Of particular interest to CRC, which has been concerned about the accountability of officers from outside agencies, are the new acknowledgement form, the new SOP entitled "Citizen complaints involving partner agency officers" which requires them to submit statements when they witness an incident, and the increased coordination with commanders from other agencies to improve service.

 

Mr. Miggins asked how the PPB would enforce the requirement that other agency officers must comply with the SOPs.  Commander Jarmer stated that the officers could be dismissed from the Transit Division, but that he expected cooperation would be provided.  Chair Bigham asked if the signed statement would be sufficient to continue the IAD investigation and was told that in most cases it would suffice.  Commander Jarmer responded that other agencies would be requested to assist. Chair Bigham asked what happens if the other agency doesn't cooperate.  Commander Jarmer stated that that depends on the relations of the Chiefs.  Mr. Miggins inquired if there was any intention to rewrite the inter-agency agreements.  Commander Jarmer said not at this time.

 

V.         IPR Director's Report

 

            Director Baptista stated that the IPR goals for the summer were to:

 

                        -Manage the caseload

                        -Hire a full-time assistant director/investigator

                        -Publish the 2007 Annual Report

                        -Develop an outreach strategy; hire an outreach coordinator     

                        -Support the active CRC workgroups

                        -Report back to City Council

 

            There are no requests for appeals.  Ten cases are appeal eligible.  No appeals are pending.

 

            Both IPR and IAD are experiencing staffing constraints.

 

Director Baptista provided a report enumerating the above and providing workload statistics.  She requested feedback on the format of the report and on the data.  Mr. Miggins asked why the number of complaints was down.  Director Baptista replied that they do not know.  It could possibly be because of outreach.  Auditor Blackmer stated that officers are having less contact with the public; the number of requests for service is dropping.

 

VI.        Workgroup Updates

 

-Bias Based Policing:  Ms. Owens said that by Friday the file review will be done.  The next meeting is on Wednesday, June 18th, when the workgroup will decide on what action to take, i.e., an interim report to the CRC.

 

-PARC Review:  Mr. Bigham stated that at the last meeting, June 17th, the workgroup was putting the data together and expects to have an interim report shortly which will be sent to PARC and PPB-OPS to verify the data, including the responses to the workgroup's questions.  The report will then be finalized to present to CRC for review and inclusion of recommendations.  Then it will be presented to City Council.  The next meeting will be on Tuesday, July 1st.

 

-Service Complaints:  Ms. Robison stated that the workgroup was gathering historical data and would meet again on June 25th.

 

-Outreach:  Mr. Miggins asked if CRC wanted to disband the workgroup.  He opined that the bulk of the outreach would be done by IPR. Chair Bigham suggested the workgroup should include outreach to City Council.  Chair Bigham asked when IPR anticipated hiring an Outreach Coordinator.  Director Baptista stated filling the Assistant Director position was the first priority, but action on filling the Outreach Coordinator position was planned for this summer. It was agreed to continue the workgroup, and Mr. Miggins will schedule a meeting.

           

VII.       Tracking List Update

 

Ms. Owens stated she hadn't yet received the old lists, but would be adding that Assistant Chief Martinek will follow up on publishing the list of citizen members of the Performance and Use of Force Reviews Boards and on the demographics of the citizen members of the board pool.

 

VIII.      CRC Action Plan for Outreach to City Council

 

Chair Bigham discussed the plan to more fully engage City Council in the work of CRC by assigning CRC members to liaison with those on the Council who had not nominated anyone to the CRC.  Ms. Baptista said her understanding of this plan was that City Council rarely hears about CRC activities and this would provide an informal mechanism for keeping the City Council informed.   Ms. Owens asked how we envisioned Council outreach and what were the mechanics for doing so?  Chair Bigham said that this would not supplant any formal reports that the CRC might make to the City Council and that the Outreach Workgroup should handle it.  Ms. Jackson suggested that a letter be sent to all of the City Council introducing the program and identifying the liaison member(s).  Mr. Miggins said that the Outreach Workgroup would prepare a draft letter for CRC approval at the next meeting.

 

IX.        Old Business

 

Chair Bigham presented a listing of IPR/CRC proposed changes in response to CRC's discussion during the May meeting of the recommendations in the Luna-Firebaugh report.  He said that the recommendations appeared to group themselves into several main categories which could be the basis for new workgroups, i.e., Outreach, Complaint/Appeal Processing/Mediation, Training, and Office/Staff Support .  Ms. Owens requested that "compelling testimony from other agency officers" and preponderance of evidence vs. the reasonable person standard" be added.  Chair Bigham agreed that these would be part of the complaint processing workgroup.  After discussion of the listing, it was agreed not to form any new workgroups at this time, but that all existing workgroups should incorporate the items listed into their work plans whenever possible.  Chair Bigham will put this matter on next month's agenda.

           

X.         New Business

 

Ms. Owens suggested CRC revisit the meeting agenda timeline so that it is more accurate.  She also said that if CRC members were to nominate guest speakers, she would like to invite Mr. Bill Tooney who is a mental health professional and sits on the CIT advisory board.  CRC agreed and suggested he be asked for the August meeting. Mr. Eriksson questioned why two members were absent and supported Ms. Owens' suggestion that CRC members invite guest speakers.  Mr. Miggins agreed that the CRC should return to the practice of inviting guest speakers.  He also suggested the CRC again participate in PPB training and asked about the status of the ride-along schedule.  He also suggested that IPR and IAD provide CRC with a briefing on their procedures.

 

XI.        Wrap-up Comments by CRC Members:  None.

 

XII.       Public Comments

 

-Ms. Aiona (League of Women Voters) applauded the CRC for dealing with the Luna-Firebaugh report by pairing members with City Council members.  This would be an opportunity for CRC to lobby for support on funding.  She suggested checking with ONI for outreach techniques.  Ms. Aiona suggested that the IPR annual report be an agenda item, that the Director's report include the types of cases, and that the data should be included in the quarterly report.

 

-Mr. Handelman (Portland Copwatch) said that the PARC Report workgroup should have recommendations.  He agreed that meeting with City Council members would provide the CRC an opportunity to request assistance.  Further, quarterly statistical reports of IPR activities are required by the ordinance.

 

Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.