Citizen Review Committee
December 8, 2010
Date Approved: January 12, 2011
Meeting Location: Lovejoy Room, 2nd Floor, Portland City Hall
Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 5:30 pm.
Introductions and Welcome
CRC Members Present: Michael Bigham (Chair), Jamie Troy (Vice-Chair), Jeff Bissonnette (Recorder), Loren Eriksson, Hank Miggins, Ayoob Ramjan
CRC Member Absent: Rochelle Silver (excused)
City staff: Lavonne Griffin-Valade (City Auditor), Mary-Beth Baptista (IPR Director), Constantin Severe (IPR Assistant Director), Stephanie Harper (Office of City Attorney)
Police Bureau: Captain Ed Brumfield (IAD), Lieutenant Eric Schober (IAD)
Community/Media: Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch and Flying Focus Video), Regina Hannon (Portland CopWatch), Jeff (Last Name Unknown) (Portland CopWatch), Debbie Aiona (League of Women Voters), Parker Sammons (community member), Kevin Diaz (ACLU, guest speaker)
Approval of Minutes of the 11/10/10 CRC Meeting
Mr. Eriksson moved to approve the minutes. Mr. Miggins seconded. The minutes were unanimously approved.
Mr. Kevin Diaz, ACLU-Oregon, gave a presentation regarding the Police Bureau training series that was provided for CRC, the Police Review, and the public.
IPR Work Plan/Accomplishments: Lindsey Detweiler and Lewellyn Robison resigned from the CRC effective 11/30/2010. CRC interviews were conducted on 11/8/10. Current CRC members Michael Bigham and Rochelle Silver and new candidates Andre Pruitt and Steve Yarosh are the nominess to be recommended to City Council for appointment to CRC. City Council confirmation will tentatively take place on 2/2/11. An IPR Staff Retreat was held on 11/18/10. IPR participated in the first reconfigured Police Review Board on 12/6/10.
IPR Community Outreach: Community Outreach Coordinator Irene Konev attended and networked at Say Hey Northwest, presented to Community Alternatives to Police, and met with Robert Half International Staffing Agency. Konev also attended the November session of the Portland Police Union bargaining negotiations. Ms. Konev and IPR Investigator Hess attended training from Project Respond on supporting community members with mental health challenges. Ms. Konev and CRC members Miggins and Bissonnette presented to the Oregon Native American Chamber of Commerce
IPR and IAD Caseloads: See caseload tables in Director’s Report.
Appeals: A Portland Police officer involved in IPR/IAD case number 2009-C-0280 has submitted a timely appeal of a sustained finding. The Case File Review date will be set by CRC.
CRC Chair’s Report (Chair Bigham)
Mr. Bigham thanked everyone who gave input on the letter he wrote regarding the Stakeholders Committee. He testified before City Council about the Stakeholders Committee. In mid-January the City Council will consider the Stakeholders Committee recommendations.
Tracking List: Mr. Bissonnette offered to take over the Tracking List.
Recurring Audit Workgroup: Mr. Bissonnette led a discussion of the workgroup’s draft Service Improvement Opportunity (SIO) Report. The public comment period has ended. Public comments were received from Portland CopWatch and the League of Women Voters.
Mr. Bissonnette stated that last month the workgroup presented the draft SIO Report to CRC and to the public for review. It was posted on the website. IPR Office Manager Carol Kershner made some typographical corrections. In addition there were comments from Portland CopWatch and League of Women Voters, which Mr. Bissonnette summarized as follows:
Mr. Handelman criticized use of the term “Service Improvement Opportunity.” The workgroup decided not to weigh in on the term that is used. There was a brief discussion last month on including a blank checklist of tools that the workgroup used and having the raw data on which the report was based available from IPR upon request. Mr. Handelman also endorsed the proposal for CRC to review minor complaints before they head to a formal process as long as there is a firm short-term deadline to ensure that the complaint process is not slowed down.
Ms. Aiona agreed with the recommendation to speeding up the SIO process and endorsed what she termed an “appeal” process for service complaints, which the workgroup viewed rather as a review by CRC of service complaints that are questioned by the complainant.
Director Baptista noted that some time ago she and Assistant Director Severe had noticed the same thing that the workgroup noticed in its audit: that IPR had not been providing the reason for sending SIOs over to IAD, which would at times cause the Police Bureau supervisors some confusion. For this reason, several months ago Ms. Baptista and Mr. Severe began including their rationale for recommending an SIO when sending a complaint to IAD.
Mr. Troy posed the question of how the workgroup’s Finding #1 squares with its Recommendation #5. Finding #1 was that SIOs are being used appropriately, and the workgroup found no instance in the sample cases it reviewed where workgroup members believed that the case handling decision should have been handled differently or not handled as an SIO. Mr. Troy pointed out that if the purpose of this review was to make sure that SIOs are not being used to “sweep things under the rug.” He then asked why there was a recommendation (Recommendation #5) to institute some type of “quasi appeal process” for SIOs when the finding was that they are working well. Mr. Troy observed that there are always going to be some complainants who are not satisfied with the outcome, no matter what, and he was not in favor of this recommendation.
Mr. Bissonnette explained the apparent discrepancy between Finding #1 and Recommendation #5 as follows: “While [with] this sample and this snapshot things are going well, I think that we have an obligation to make sure that the process in an ongoing manner works well, and while we note that, while there might always be somebody that is upset with the process, that it is a good idea to be able to have the folks that are supposed to be looking at this on an ongoing basis, that they have it make sense that it should have been an SIO, or not. I think we have a responsibility as a workgroup to check in before we have another review in a year or two or whenever we decide to take it up, and that it gives us an insight into other interactions between members of the Police Bureau and members of the public beyond what we get in our cases…. The second reason is that we want to give the public the confidence that SIOs are indeed being used correctly on a regular basis…. In order to provide that reassurance on an ongoing basis we thought that having some ability to weigh in on the very rare times when it would be questioned would be helpful.”
Mr. Troy asked: “What if the end result of this pilot program is that this subgroup that’s self-selected to this process becomes more dissatisfied with the process and believes that CRC is only a rubber stamp…? Couldn’t that be an end result of this recommendation?... I’ll just say that my opinion is that – if Finding #1 was more questionable about what was going on within your audit of service complaints, and there was more question, I would favor a pilot program, but given the findings of Finding #1… I don’t favor Recommendation #5, for all the reasons that I’ve stated.”
There followed a short discussion of the usefulness or appropriateness of including the raw data from the review process in the report.
Chair Bigham suggested that the committee start with the terminology issue.
Mr. Troy expressed disapproval of the term “Service Improvement Opportunity,” calling it “silly.”
Mr. Bissonnette said that the workgroup did not believe that whatever the process is called had any bearing on whether or the process is working or not, so they decided that this was not a point that they wanted to make.
Mr. Miggins said that he does not believe that weighing in on that terminology is worth CRC’s efforts in considering the substance of the report.
Mr. Bissonnette asked if anyone would like to change the approach that the workgroup took with regard to terminology.
Mr. Troy made a motion to incorporate criticism of the term “Service Improvement Opportunity” into the report Mr. Eriksson seconded. The motion failed by a vote of 2 yes, 4 no.
Yes: Miggins, Troy
No: Bigham, Bissonnette, Eriksson, Ramjan
Mr. Miggins made a motion that recommendation #5 be removed from the report. Mr. Troy seconded. The motion failed by a vote of 2 yes, 4 no.
Yes: Miggins, Troy
No: Bissonnette, Bigham, Ramjan, Eriksson
Mr. Troy made a motion to add the raw data in the report. Mr. Eriksson seconded.
Chair Bigham asked Director Baptista to articulate IPR’s objection to including the raw data. Ms. Baptista explained that the raw data could easily be taken out of context and misconstrued, undermining the findings in the report. Making the raw data available upon request allows for it to be put into proper context.
The motion to add the raw data in the report failed by a vote of 2 yes, 4 no.
Yes: Bigham, Troy
No: Eriksson, Ramjan, Miggins, Bissonnette
Mr. Miggins made a motion that the workgroup report be accepted by the full CRC. Mr. Ramjan seconded.
Director Baptista noted that some of the things that the workgroup report directs CRC to do are not within the purview of CRC. For example, CRC cannot direct the Police Bureau to change its terminology, and CRC cannot be directed to create a pilot program that changes case handling protocol. Mr. Bissonnette suggested rewording the recommendation to “will work with IPR, IAD, and stakeholders to create a pilot mechanism.” Ms. Baptista said that she believes the recommendation would have to be that IPR change its case handling system to grant CRC the authority to have input on the decision to handle a case as an SIO. Ms. Baptista said that the Recommendation #5, as currently written, is asking IPR to grant CRC additional authority.
Mr. Bissonnette stated the Director’s comments were well taken and that he and Mr. Ramjan could refashion the wording of Recommendation #5 in consultation with IPR. Ms. Baptista suggested that CRC needs to decide to whom it is making the recommendation. In this instance, it is making a recommendation to IPR that IPR allow CRC’s input in case handling decisions. Mr. Troy agreed that the workgroup needs to rethink and rework the recommendation, because there is no clear authority for CRC to do what the recommendation is proposing.
Mr. Bissonnette proposed that at this time CRC accept the SIO Report with the exception of Recommendation #5, which will be rewritten. Mr. Miggins and Mr. Ramjan withdrew the motion to accept the full report at this time, and it was agreed to postpone the vote until the approved changes have been made in the report.
Mr. Ramjan made a motion that the report be accepted except for Recommendation #5, which will be reworked. Mr. Eriksson seconded. The motion failed to pass by a vote of 1 yes, 5 no.
Mr. Eriksson was of the opinion that CRC should wait to vote on the entire reworked report rather than voting on the report in piecemeal fashion.
No: Bigham, Bissonnette, Eriksson, Miggins, Troy
Other Old Business
Mr. Eriksson said that at the last public forum he stated that he was not sure that the Police Chief does not have the final say on selection of the Police Review Board community members. City Auditor Griffin-Valade responded to Mr. Eriksson by email that the Auditor has the final say on which community members are presented to Council for appointment and that the Police Chief cannot override the Auditor’s decision on the recommendation or the Council’s approval.
Mr. Troy presented the draft modifications of Protocol 5.13 CRC-IPR Supplemental Appeal Hearing Process to coincide with the changes that were made in PSF-5.03. Mr. Miggins made a motion to accept the protocol as modified. Mr. Bissonnette seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Appeals Workgroup (Mr. Troy): Last meeting was 11/24/10. The workgroup completed its work on Protocol 5.13 and then moved on to discussing 5.15 and 5.16. The next meeting will be on 12/28/10 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Mr. Troy’s law office.
Outreach Workgroup (Mr. Miggins): Last meeting was on 12/8/10. The City Attorney’s Office briefed the workgroup on the activities that it is permitted to do as a committee. The workgroup plans to write an administrative procedure in this regard. It is projected that the next public form following the March 2011 public forum will be on October 20, 2011. The tentative date for the upcoming public forum is 3/2/11. The location has not yet been determined but it will be in Southeast Portland. The next meeting will be on 1/12/2011 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Protocol Workgroup (Mr. Miggins): Last meeting was 12/2/10. The workgroup proposed changes to Protocol 5.22 (Election of Officers) and had them place on the website for comment. The workgroup reviewed Protocols 5.17 (Guidance for Working Together) and recommended no changes. The workgroup agreed to postpone work on 5.23 (CRC Duties and Responsibilities) pending the outcome of the Stakeholders Report. At the suggestion of the IPR Director, the workgroup agreed to hold off on reviewing protocols pertaining to IPR and IAD at this time. The next meeting will be on 1/13/11 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Mr. Troy’s law office.
Recurring Audit Workgroup (Mr. Ramjan): The workgroup has been engaged in putting together its draft report on Service Improvement Opportunities. A notification will be sent out regarding the next meeting. Ms. Baptista asked if the revisions would be made in time to re-post them on the website for people to read prior to the next CRC meeting, and Mr. Ramjan said that they would.
Taser/Less-lethal Force Workgroup (Mr. Bigham): Last meeting was 11/30/10. Chris O’Connor from the Public Defenders Office was the guest speaker. The group is currently down to two members and will be on hiatus until they have a new member.
Ms. Aiona thanked Mr. Bigham and CRC members for their hard work on the Stakeholder Committee recommendations and expressed a desire that CRC continue to have guest speakers like tonight’s speaker. Ms. Aiona asked that draft documents for public comment be left on the website up until the next CRC meeting.
Ms. Hannon expressed concern about the lack of women on CRC and recommended further recruitment and outreach to address this.
Mr. Handelman said that the Taser should not be referred to as a control tool. Mr. Handelman recommended that two additional extra persons be screened and background checked for CRC so that whenever a member resigns, their position can be immediately refilled.
Director Baptista stated that the CRC selection committee definitely recognized that the lack of women on CRC is a problem, but they had to work with the pool of candidates that they had. She encouraged everyone to find ways to make the work of CRC more interesting and attractive to women. Auditor Griffin-Valade shared Ms. Baptista’s concern on this matter.
Mr. Miggins asked that draft documents be left on the website until the day before the next CRC meeting. Director Baptista agreed to do this.
Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.