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February 17, 2009

Minutes

Citizen Review Committee

February 17, 2009

 

Approved March 17, 2009

 

Meeting Location:  Lovejoy Room, Portland City Hall

 

CRC Members Present:  Barbara Anderson, Michael Bigham, Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, JoAnn Jackson, Hank Miggins, Lewellyn Robison, Rochelle Silver

 

CRC Members Absent:  Mark Johnson (excused)

 

City Staff:  Mary-Beth Baptista (IPR Director), Constantin Severe (IPR Assistant  Director), Michael Hess (IPR Deputy Director), Derek Reinke (IPR Senior Management Specialist); Sanjeev Balajee (acting IPR Community Outreach Coordinator)

 

Police Bureau:  Captain David Famous (IAD)

 

Community Members:  Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters), Dan Handelman (Portland CopWatch); Sherelle Owens (former CRC member)

 

I. Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.

 

II. Introductions and welcome.

 

III. Approval of minutes of the 1/6/09 CRC Meeting: Mr. Eriksson moved to approve the minutes.

     Ms. Robison seconded. Motion carried, 6-0.

 

IV. Director's Report (Director Baptista).

 

IPR Work Plan

 

•  Manage case load

•  Support the CRC workgroups

•  Interview top candidates for IPR's Community Outreach Coordinator position.

•  Participate in the recently reconvened "Force Task Force."

•  Begin work on the 2008 Annual Report

 

IPR Accomplishments

 

•  CRC nominations presented to City Council 1/28/09. Members were received and affirmed by Council.

 

•  Bias-based Policing Interim Report completed.

 

Outreach/Media

 

•  On 2/11/09 Director Baptista met with Maria Lisa Johnson, Director of the Office of Human Relations. They discussed IPR's community outreach goals and communication strategies for engaging in dialogue with minority/underserved communities. Ms. Johnson agreed to be on the interview panel for the IPR Community Outreach Coordinator position. Assistant Director Severe will attend the monthly Police-Community Relations Committee meetings.

 

•  The City Council session in which CRC appointments were confirmed generated greater than normal media attention, resulting in IPR, CRC and the CRC candidates receiving substantial press - including The Oregonian, KATU news, The Mercury, Willamette Week, The Portland Tribune, and The Skanner.

       

IPR Caseload:  a table summarizing the IPR caseload over the past three months was provided.  There has been a continued reduction in the backlog of cases.

 

IAD Caseload: a table summarizing the IAD caseload over the past three months was provided.  There are 30 cases awaiting IAD assignment, but 25 of those have been at IAD less than a month.

 

Cases Eligible for Appeal: There are seven cases currently eligible for appeal.

 

For The Good of the Order: Director Baptista again thanked outgoing CRC members Sherrelle Owens and Robert Milesnick, expressing gratitude for their efforts and dedication and recognizing their accomplishments.  

 

V. Discussion of Interim Report of Bias-based Policing Workgroup

 

Former CRC Member Sherrelle Owens (Chair of the Bias-based Policing Workgroup) and IPR Senior Management Analyst Derek Reinke presented an overview of the workgroup and the Interim Report. Mr. Bigham asked where CRC should go from here.  Ms. Owens stated that Mr. Miggins and Mr. Johnson have agreed to serve as the co-chairs of the workgroup and the idea at this point is for the workgroup to get back together to identify what direction they want to go from here with the recommendations that have come out of the Interim Report.  Director   Baptista suggested that CRC give the workgroup some constructive suggestions to assist them in creating a new workplan with a specified end date.    

 

Mr. Miggins made a motion that CRC accept the Bias-based Policing Interim Report. Mr. Eriksson seconded the motion. Ms. Owens pointed out that some of the issues identified by the workgroup are already being addressed by IPR. Ms. Cooper asked if the Bias-based Policing Workgroup addressed disparate treatment of persons with mental health issues. Mr. Reinke and Mr. Miggins said that at least one of the cases that was reviewed involved a person with a disability, but Mr. Miggins clarified that none of the cases involved an allegation of disparate treatment based on a disability.  Ms. Aiona and Mr. Handelman provided public comment. Mr. Handelman was concerned that the Interim Report was being adopted by CRC without sufficient opportunity for public comment. Ms. Baptista clarified that the adoption of the Interim Report by CRC does not preclude further public comment.  Mr. Handelman also commented that the Interim Report might have included   some anecdotal examples of cases that were reviewed. Mr. Handelman thanked Ms. Owens for all the work she did with this workgroup. 

 

The motion to adopt the Interim Report passed unanimously.  

 

VI. Discussion of Timeline for Upcoming Election of CRC Officers

 

Mr. Miggins made a motion to move the election to the April 21 CRC meeting. Ms. Cooper seconded the motion. Following discussion and public comment by Ms. Aiona and Mr. Handelman, the motion passed unanimously.

 

VII. Workgroup Updates

 

PARC Report Review Workgroup (Chair: Michael Bigham).  The workgroup continues to review and analyze the Police Bureau's response to the PARC recommendations. When they complete this process, they intend to meet again with the Police Bureau. 

 

› Next meeting: February 24, 2009, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon in the Audit Services Library.

 

Case Handling Workgroup (Ms. Robison).  With the loss of Mr. Milesnick, the workgroup has only two remaining members, and they would like another volunteer to serve on this workgroup. Ms. Anderson volunteered to join this workgroup. Director Baptista suggested that the new members be assigned mentors and learn more about the process before work groups are filled. Chair Bigham suggested that new members attend some workgroup meetings before deciding which workgroups they would like to join. Ms. Robison agreed. Ms. Anderson and Ms. Silver expressed interest in attending the next meeting of this workgroup. 

 

The workgroup will decide if new members of the workgroup will be asked to go back and review the group of cases that has already been reviewed by the workgroup. However, a number of CRC members recommended that the workgroup should move forward and not expect new members to review files that have already been reviewed. Ms. Robison said that the only commonality in the cases that the Case Handling Workgroup has already reviewed is a concern of complainants regarding welfare checks by police officers. 

 

› The next meeting has not yet been scheduled. Director Baptista will attend the next meeting of this workgroup.

 

IPR Structure Review Workgroup (Chair: Ms. Jackson). The workgroup continues to address the identified focus areas with a view toward developing recommendations. The workgroup hopes to have a report completed by June. 

 

› Next meeting: March 5, 2009, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Audit Services Library. Agenda: Continue to discuss the staff and training focus areas.

 

Protocol Workgroup (Chair: Ms. Robison).

 

› Next meeting: not yet scheduled.

 

Retreat Workgroup (Chair: Ms. Robison).  Copies of the retreat agenda were provided by Ms. Robison. There is time on the agenda for the workgroup chairs to suggest goals for the coming year.  One of the retreat objectives is goal setting for the next two years. The retreat will take place on Saturday, February 28, 2009, at the Water Pollution Control Laboratory. The retreat will be recorded, and CRC will be responsible for the retreat minutes.      

 

Outreach Workgroup (Chair: Mr. Miggins). The workgroup is on hold until the IPR Outreach Coordinator is hired. Mr. Miggins made the point that "everything we do is outreach."  

 

Tow Policy Workgroup (Chair: Mr. Bigham). Mr. Eriksson announced that this workgroup is on hiatus.   

 

Bias-based Policing Workgroup: Mr. Miggins and Mr. Johnson are now the co-chairs of this workgroup.

 

› Next meeting: not yet scheduled.

 

VIII. Force Task Force: Director Baptista confirmed that the meetings of this task force are not public meetings, but she acknowledged the desire of community members to have an avenue to offer feedback that can be brought back to the task force. Ms. Baptista asked Mr. Eriksson and Mr. Bigham, the CRC members of the task force, to give a summary of the progress of the task force and allow time for members of the public to provide input. Mr. Bigham said the task force has been "walking through" the recommendations of the original task force to evaluate whether or not the recommendations have been followed up on. Ms. Baptista added that the task force has pulled preliminary data on issues that were presented in the first task force. She said the next charge of the task force is to determine what information is or is not included.

 

Mr. Handelman stated that he does not understand why the content of the task force meetings is confidential, since he does not believe that any specific officers are being named in the discussions of the task force.  

 

Ms. Aiona expressed concern that the public will never know if their input is actually brought to the task force since the meetings are confidential. Director Baptista said that ultimately a document will be issued, at which time the public will know what was talked about.

 

Ms. Baptista made the following statement: "The CRC and IPR have a responsibility to the public, and I want to hear your feedback, and I want to hear what you have to say about what is concerning you. My ability to report back on that is constrained by the fact that this is a confidential task force."

 

Ms. Aiona asked if the City Council knows about the secrecy surrounding this task force. She said that this does not seem like the values that we have in Portland. Ms. Baptista reminded Ms. Aiona that there are representatives from Commissioner Saltzman's office on the task force.

 

[Ms. Cooper left the meeting at this point - 7:30 p.m.] 

 

IX. Tracking List Update

 

Chair Bigham talked about setting up an approximately 4-hour training, possibly in March, for new CRC members.  He said he would like Captain Famous or someone from the Training Division to talk about IAD and a CRC member to talk about the CRC process. Mr. Eriksson and Mr. Miggins offered to serve as mentors to Ms. Anderson and Ms. Silver, respectively.

 

[Ms. Anderson left the meeting at this point. - 7:35 p.m.]

 

Mr. Miggins expressed concern about the falling off in the number of appeals. Mr. Reinke pointed out that IPR collects satisfaction data from  complainants whose cases have closed.  Ms. Baptista stated that complainant satisfaction is an issue that IPR is trying to address in multiple ways, such as including the appeal form with disposition letters, trying from the very beginning to make sure complainants understand the various options, maintaining communications with complainants, etc.  

 

Ms. Silver cited a recent newspaper article about a police officer who was unhappy with the results of an investigation and was appealing to Commissioner Saltzman's office. Ms. Silver asked if this was something that would eventually come back to IPR.  Captain Famous explained that officers have several avenues of appeal, and they do eventually get to the police commissioner's desk. He agreed to try to look into the case that Ms. Silver brought up and get an answer back to her.         

 

Continuing his discussion about the fall-off in appeals, Mr. Miggins said he would like to have some way of knowing whether or not complainants are satisfied with the disposition of their cases.  Ms. Robison said that she and Mr. Johnson discussed this issue in the Case Handling Workgroup, and one of the things they have found in looking at protested cases is that there seems to be a more positive response from complainants when there is a face-to-face or telephone contact with a Police Bureau supervisor, as in the handling of service complaints.   

 

Chair Bigham confirmed that he is making an effort to assign tracking list items to various workgroups.

 

X. Old Business

 

Mr. Robison stated that Commissioner Fish was not able to attend the February CRC meeting due to a prior commitment, but she would like to  invite him to the March or April meeting. 

 

Mr. Miggins said that it was likely that someone from the Police Commissioner's office would be attending future CRC meetings. Ms. Baptista confirmed this.

 

XI. New Business

 

Ms. Robison made a motion to accept a letter of commendation for Commander John Tellis that Chair Bigham wrote to Chief Sizer.  Ms. Jackson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

 

Mr. Bigham continued the discussion of training for new CRC members. He said he would like CRC members do some of the training along with representatives of IPR and the Police Bureau. The training will include the appeals process, handling of complaints, policies, workgroup procedures, etc. Ms. Jackson suggested that there should be some general training on how CRC functions. Ms. Robison said the daylong trainings provided by the PPB Training Division at Camp Withycombe were also very useful. 

 

XII. CRC Wrap-up Comments

 

Mr. Miggins put in "a good word" for Mr. Bigham as CRC Chair.            

 

XIII. Public Comments:

 

Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters):  Ms. Aiona followed up on Mr. Miggins's concerns about appeals.  She suggested that CRC members work with the Outreach Coordinator to come up with a telephone survey and that CRC members make follow-up phone calls to persons who were eligible for appeal and were never heard back from, to ask them how they felt about what happened and why they chose not to appeal.   

 

Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch).  Mr. Handelman expressed concern that the Bias-based Policing Interim Report was submitted to the Police Chief before it was approved by CRC. He said that he felt that the Interim Report was "hustled" through for passage by the full CRC.  Mr. Handelman also suggested that training should be for all CRC members, not just the new members. He said that if the CRC is going to get the police point of view in their training sessions, they should also get the point of view of a defense attorney or a civil rights attorney.

 

Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 8:01 p.m.