Citizen Review Committee
January 6, 2009
Approved February 17, 2009
Meeting Location: Pettygrove Room, Portland City Hall
CRC Members Present: Michael Bigham, Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, JoAnn Jackson, Mark Johnson, Lewellyn Robison
CRC Members Absent: Hank Miggins (excused), Sherrelle Owens (excused), Robert Milesnick
City Staff: Gary Blackmer (City Auditor), Mary-Beth Baptista (IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR Deputy Director), Derek Reinke (IPR Senior Management Specialist), Marilyn Shepherd (IPR Office Support Specialist); Sanjeev Balajee (IPR Temporary Community Outreach Specialist)
Police Bureau: Captain John Tellis (IAD), Lieutenant David Famous (IAD)
Community Members: Rochelle Silver (Newly Nominated CRC Member), Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters), Dan Handelman (Portland CopWatch), Song Kim
Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
I. Introductions and welcome
II. Approval of minutes of the 11/18/08 CRC Meeting: Mr. Eriksson moved to approve the minutes. Ms. Jackson seconded. Motion carried, 6-0.
III. Director's Report (Director Baptista)
• Gary Blackmer announced that he will be resigning as City Auditor on May 18, 2009.
• IPR Work Plan
° Manage case load.
° Support CRC workgroups.
° Finalize the IPR Community Outreach Plan.
° Conduct the open recruitment for the Outreach Coordinator and complete the hiring process by 2/27/09.
° Participate in the recently reconvened "Force Task Force."
° Publish the final Quarterly Report of 2008.
° Begin work on the 2008 Annual Report.
• IPR Accomplishments
° CRC recruitment process was completed, and nominees were selected. The nominees will be presented to City Council for appointment on January 28, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. New CRC members nominated for appointment are Barbara Anderson and Rochelle Silver. Current CRC members nominated for re-appointment are Michael Bigham and Lewellyn Robison
° Changes in IPR communications with complainants: To ensure success for people who need to use the complaint process to enter and move through the system efficiently, IPR has developed an acknowledgement letter, which will be sent to all complainants within a few days of the receipt of their complaint. Also, to increase transparency and access, IPR will enclose the appeal form in all findings letters.
• IPR Caseload: With the addition of the new Assistant Director, Constantin Severe, and the return of Assistant Director Pete Sandrock, we have seen a reduction in the backlog of cases and hope to continue the progress in the next few months.
• IAD Caseload: a table summarizing the IAD caseload over the past three months was provided.
• Appeals: There are no cases currently eligible for appeal.
° IPR has been given an opportunity to start the groundwork for the soon to be hired Outreach Specialist by drawing on the experience and expertise of Sanjeev Balajee on a temporary basis. Mr. Balajee was the Performance Measurement Coordinator for the Neighborhood Resource Center of the Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
° The Police Bureau has announced that Captain Tellis is being promoted to Commander of the Training Division, and Lieutenant Famous is being promoted to Captain of the Internal Affairs Division.
IV. Guest Speaker: Anne Pressentin of EnviroIssues
Ms. Pressentin presented an overview of the outreach proposal and entertained questions from CRC members and IPR staff. A handout was provided. Following is a summary of the presentation:
The community outreach plan is a starting point for dialogue with the community, based on which strategies can be revised to best address the needs of the community, IPR, and CRC. Building trust is a primary objective. The goals of the community outreach plan are to increase awareness of the Independent Police Review Division and the Citizen Review Committee and to increase knowledge among stakeholders that complaints are taken seriously and that a process exists to evaluate each complaint; to increase awareness that commendable work by Portland Police officers may be reported to IPR; and to ensure that persons who want to file complaints or commendations can enter and move through the system efficiently.
The timeline is to begin implementing the guiding principles over the next few months and to go out to the public and overhaul the outreach materials when a community outreach specialist is hired.
Public comment was received from community members in attendance. Ms. Aiona asked if the next draft will reflect the suggestion of engaging persons with the most contact with police. Ms. Pressentin responded that all recommendations that have been received will be taken into consideration.
Ms. Aiona asked if the next draft will be available for review again. Director Baptista responded that the next draft will be the final draft, but she reminded the group that a "living, breathing person" will be hired to implement the plan, so if something is not specifically written in the plan, that does not mean that it will not be done. Director Baptista pointed out that the outreach plan is "just a road map - it's not the road trip."
Mr. Handelman noted that one of the concerns that was raised was that public outreach information be clear about limitations of IPR, so that people are not given false expectations. Director Baptista responded that this is already being done by means of the initial contact letter that is now being sent to complainants. She noted that this letter clearly states that one of the options is to refer the case for an IAD investigation and that the role of IPR is to review and monitor the ongoing investigation. Ms. Pressentin added that the one of the goals stated in the outreach plan is to identify exactly what IPR and CRC do.
Ms. Aiona asked how many persons submitted comments regarding the outreach draft. Director Baptista responded that comments were received from Ms. Aiona, Mr. Handelman, and several IPR staff members. Ms. Jackson pointed out that the persons who were interviewed by EnviroIssues should also be factored into this number.
V. Workgroup Updates
Bias Based Policing Workgroup
> Next meeting: January 7, 2009, 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
Agenda: Discuss the draft report.
PARC Report Review Workgroup (Chair: Michael Bigham). The workgroup met with Acting Lieutenant Mike Marshman to discuss the Police Bureau's response to the PARC recommendations.
> Next meeting: January 15, 2009 at 12:00 noon - 1:30 p.m.
Agenda: Continue discussion of Police Bureau's response to the PARC recommendations.
Case Handling Workgroup (Chair: Mr. Johnson). The workgroup is continuing its review of the first sample of files, which involves complainants who protested the handling of their complaints.
> Next meeting: January 14, 2009, at 12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m.
Agenda: Continue discussion of case review.
IPR Structure Review Workgroup (Chair: Ms. Jackson). The December 10, 2008, presentation to City Council went well. The workgroup will continue its work on the remaining focus issues.
> Next meeting: January 8, 2009, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.
Agenda: Continue to formulate recommendations for remaining five focus areas.
Protocol Workgroup (Chair: Ms. Robison). Ms. Robison requested that CRC members review and comment on the proposed changes to Protocol PSF-5.12 (Workgroup Protocol) prior to the January 20, 2009, CRC Meeting.
> No meeting scheduled.
Retreat Workgroup (Chair: Ms. Robison). A decision will be made at the next meeting on whether to go forward with scheduling the CRC on Saturday, February 28, 2009.
> No meeting scheduled.
There were no reports from the Outreach Workgroup and the Tow Policy Workgroup.
VI. Old Business: In response to Mr. Bigham's letter to Mr. John Hren of Portland Patrol Incorporated (PPI), Mr. Hren has tentatively agreed to speak to CRC. This was a result of Director Baptista's suggestion of also inviting a representative of the Portland Police Bureau and shifting the focus of the presentation to the partnership between PPI and the Portland Police Bureau.
VII. New Business: Ms. Jackson and Mr. Johnson stated that they will not be able to attend the January 20, 2009, CRC Meeting.
VIII. Public Comments:
Mr. Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch). Portland CopWatch has published its latest edition of the People's Police Report. Mr. Handelman expressed concern that the meetings of the Use of Force Task Force are not open to the public. He pointed out that participating in radio call-in shows and cable access programs would be a means of having a two-way dialogue with the community. Mr. Handelman asked for a copy of the latest draft report of the Bias-based Policing Workgroup. Ms. Jackson agreed to send him a copy. Mr. Handelman said it should be made clear in the protocol regarding workgroups that although portions of some meetings may be closed to the public due to confidential matters being discussed, this does not mean that the whole meeting is necessarily confidential.
Mr. Song Kim said that he missed the outreach plan presentation, but as a community member he believes that clarification and openness are always a good thing. He said that a few months ago he attended a CRC meeting, and there were some members of the community who brought forth grievances that the CRC had no power to address. Mr. Kim suggested that there should be an informational brochure that people can take with them when CRC cannot help them. Director Baptista responded that this is going to be done.
Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 7:30 p.m.