FOLLOW UP TO PREVIOUS QUARTERLY REPORT
The Chief’s Response to our Third Quarter 1996 Monitoring Report is appended
to this report as Attachment A. We would like to clarify our recommendation #2
as it seems to have been misunderstood.
We have no disagreement about managers conducting inquiries. What we are
recommending is that complainants be routinely informed of the second-tier
review process, which is not the same as having IAD actually do the work.
We have reviewed precinct-level investigations that were done well; we have
seen many instances when supervisors make responsible, informed decisions. But
complainants may not possess the same level of confidence, and our
recommendation is designed to accommodate their point of view. We will clarify
our previous recommendation, and hope the Chief will view it in the "win-win"
spirit it is intended.
Citizens who file complaints feel aggrieved when they contact PPB. Many who
follow through with a complaint do so precisely because IAD exists as a separate
unit, presumably staffed by people who know how to investigate complaints and
who are not closely involved with the subject officer. So far, so good. But,
several months later, the complainant receives a letter of disposition directly
from the subject officer’s supervisor. If the results are disappointing,
complainants sometimes wonder whether IAD had any role in this at all.
On several occasions these complainants subsequently contacted PIIAC staff
concerned about how their complaint was handled. They were suspicious of the
supervisors’ impartiality and thought such an investigation was too "cozy." They
assumed that the
finding was arbitrarily and capriciously made in a vacuum, with no
accountability to anyone else in the Bureau.
These letters, as currently written, can contribute to these assumptions
and may undermine confidence in the Bureau’s accountability. A simple
modification to the wording of these letters -- in acknowledgment of the
citizen’s point of view -- can go a long way to prevent these impressions.
Our second concern is this: on at least one occasion that we know of, a
division captain sent a disposition letter to the complainant before the final
IAD review. During second- and third-tier review, procedural deficiences were
identified as a result of the complaint. The division captain sent a revised
letter to the complainant. The complainant did not appreciate the significance
of this outcome as much as he may have (he contacted PIIAC and voiced his
opinion) had he not received the first letter.
We appreciate the Chief’s commitment to correcting errors and ensuring proper
training for those involved in complaint investigation. But we do not believe
the Bureau gains by sending out a disposition letter before all review is
complete if that letter later proves to be in error. We prefer to see PPB
correct its own errors whenever possible, and send out a final product that
everyone can support.
Therefore, our revised recommendation is twofold:
1. Letters of disposition are mailed to complainants after all review is
complete and the findings approved, or at the very least, inform complainants
that the findings are subject to whatever additional review remains;
2. All letters of disposition authored by non-IAD staff contain the
following sentence or something similar: "The investigation and finding have
been thoroughly reviewed by [name of IAD commander] of the Internal Affairs
The Chief’s response to our Fourth Quarter 1996 Monitoring Report is not due
until May 5, 1997.
IAD / PIIAC ACTIVITY
I. Cases Appealed / Monitored
During the first quarter 1997, PIIAC advisors processed five new
appeals. The appeals and actions taken are as follow:
#97-01: Advisors voted to return this case to IAD for additional
investigation, which is pending. It involved the complainant having been taken
into temporary custody during a traffic stop until officers could establish his
identity. He also objected to the officers’ communication with him and a friend
who happened by at the time. Advisors determined that PPB did not sufficiently
explore the communication allegations.
#97-02: The complaint was initially declined by IAD; the declination
was affirmed by the citizen advisors. Following an appeal to PIIAC (City
Council), commissioners voted unanimously to reject the appeal.
The complaint involved actions taken by officers during a welfare check on
the appellant’s wife. Advisors concluded that IAD sufficiently established that
officers conformed to policy and procedure. Advisors did make a procedural
recommendation: that in situations involving possible adversaries, officers
provide business cards or other identification to both parties -- not
just one -- to avoid the appearance of taking sides. (Part of the complaint
was that as officers were leaving, one handed his business card to the wife
instead of the appellant.)
#97-03: Advisors affirmed IAD’s declination of this complaint. The
appellant did not appeal to PIIAC (City Council). The complaint was that an
officer pointed his gun at him during a traffic stop and took him into temporary
custody until his identity could be established. IAD sufficiently established
that the traffic stop was elevated to a high-risk stop when the appellant seemed
to be trying to elude the officer.
#97-04: Advisors affirmed IAD’s declination of this complaint. The
appellant, currently serving a jail sentence, believed a Drug and Vice officer
deliberately misrepresented the amount of marijuana seized from his home. The
appellant, who pled guilty to several drug-related charges, believed the
officer’s actions led to a more severe sentence. IAD provided advisors with an
internal memorandum indicating that the officer had indeed erred by writing
"lbs" instead of "ozs," but that the error was made known to the court and had
not affected the sentence. Advisors were satisfied that the discrepancy was
resolved and do not believe the IAD/PIIAC process should become a forum for
post-conviction relief. An appeal to PIIAC (City Council) is pending.
#97-05: IAD initially declined the complaint, but voluntarily withdrew
this case for investigation after receiving a preliminary audit report that
identified some deficiencies. The basic allegation was that an officer failed to
take a report of an assault against the complainant. Advisors did not vote on
this case; additional review is pending.
We monitored an additional 35 IAD investigations closed out during the
first quarter. We monitor all closed cases that fall into the following
categories: use of force, disparate treatment, complaints with sustained
findings, and cases that went to PPB’s Review Level Committee. Cases with less
significant allegations are not routinely audited unless they are appealed.
Cases reviewed for monitoring reflected the following types of
Use of Force 22
Disparate Treatment 5
The findings reflected the following:
Insufficient Evidence 18
Use of Force Cases Audited:
The 22 Use of Force cases reflected the following findings:
Insufficient Evidence 6
Use of Force cases that were sustained involved the following actions by
· Use of carotid hold. A combative suspect
gained possession of an officer’s pepper spray; a carotid (choke) hold was used
to subdue him which caused a brief loss of consciousness. Although a carotid
hold is considered deadly force, this case alerted PPB that it was not described
as such in a revised Use of Force General Order (G.O.). Normally, deadly force
cases are handled by the District Attorney’s office and evidence presented to a
Grand Jury but because of the G.O.’s wording, it was investigated in Internal
Affairs. PPB immediately corrected their G.O. to characterize the carotid hold
as deadly force.
· Another complaint was sustained for procedure and
use of force after an officer effected an unconstitutional arrest. The use of
force finding was made because the officer grabbed ahold of the subject even
though he had no legal reason to detain him, and subsequently took him into
custody for "disobeying a peace officer."
Sustained complaints audited:
Precinct/division breakdown is as follows:
Southeast (Heisler) 6
Central (May) 5
Northeast (Orr) 2
East (Paresi) 3
North (Rictor) 2
Tactical Division (Foxworth) 1
Reserves (Jones) 1
In addition to the sustained use of force complaints described in the
previous section, complaints were sustained against officers for the following
· Improper/unauthorized used of the Law Enforcement
Data System (LEDS) - 2 complaints;
· Failure to follow proper procedure (documentation
of handcuffing - 2 complaints;
vehicle inventory pursuant to tow; issuance of property receipt; taking
robbery report; handling of evidence; providing identification);
· Failure to report sick leave;
· Unconstitutional detention/arrest - 2
· Improper driving (as observed and reported by a
· Personal conduct unrelated to a specific police
action (2 complaints);
· Courtesy issues (2 complaints);
We would like to comment on some of these issues.
· Improper/Unauthorized Use of LEDS:
Perhaps coincidentally, we reviewed three sustained complaints this past
quarter that involved improper/unauthorized use of LEDS. We understand that
additional complaints with similar issues are currently under investigation.
This does not necessarily constitute a "trend" or "pattern" and we have no
recommendation at this time, but we have identified this as an issue for
LEDS is a statewide database that provides criminal history and motor vehicle
information on individuals. The information is available only to law enforcement
agencies for legitimate criminal justice purposes. All agencies using this
database enter into a formal agreement that quite specifically describes the
conditions for use and defines "criminal justice purposes." Misuse of the
database can result in the loss of user privileges. Officers also sign
One case involved a reserve officer running law enforcement checks before
receiving the appropriate training. The investigation revealed that a training
backlog existed; we understand this is being corrected. The second complaint
that was sustained involved an officer obtaining someone’s home address which he
then provided to a personal friend. Because the friend had indicated the need to
conduct legal business with the other party, the officer told IAD that he
considered this usage to fall under the "criminal justice" parameters. In a
third case we examined, the LEDS usage was secondary to the main complaint
involving off-duty conduct. The complaint was sustained, but because the
category of "Procedure" was not applied, we do not know if the sustained finding
included the LEDS usage issue. The subject officer also testified that his LEDS
usage was for legitimate criminal justice purposes; however, the person he
checked was responsible for the initiation of this complaint regarding the
officer’s off-duty conduct. The investigative file contained a memorandum from
the PPB Records supervisor in which she said she thought a LEDS violation had
The common denominator in the latter two cases was that the officers very
broadly interpreted "criminal justice purposes."
· Officer Identification:
We recommend PPB further clarify the Identification General Order or
assist PPB command staff reach agreement in its interpretation and
enforcement. Failure to provide identification was a secondary
allegation in three complaints audited this past quarter, as well as in
an appealed case that was reviewed but not included in this report’s other
statistics. We identified this as an issue in our 2nd/3rd Quarter 1995
Monitoring Report; we have continued to see this issue come up in complaints.
We believe that a number of these complaints are preventable.
PPB General Order 312.50, Identification, states that ". . . All
members will identify themselves by name and BPST number upon request. Upon
demand, identification will be presented in writing or through the presentation
of a Bureau-issued business card."
As straightforward as this instruction seems, it is apparently open to
interpretation. Some officers, upon being asked for their name, have
allegedly told citizens "it will be on the report." The citizen must then order
and pay for a report from PPB’s Records Division; these reports sometimes take
weeks to become available. Other officers may tell a citizen "my name is on the
ticket." Directing a citizen’s attention to a legibly-written name is one thing;
expecting a citizen to decipher a scrawl is quite another. In other instances,
officers allegedly pointed to their name tag which reflects only a last name, or
they provide a last name only. Even though these officers may consider
themselves in compliance with the G.O., a citizen is often left feeling even
We have also seen a fair number of complaints the past few years, alleging
that officers refused to provide a badge number. Portland police officers do not
have badge numbers, but they do have numbers issued by the Bureau of Police
Standards and Training (BPST). Does the G.O.’s wording require a citizen to
specify they want a BPST number before it is forthcoming? Apparently some
officers would rather provide tedious explanations -- to already irate citizens
-- about how they don’t have badge numbers.
In one case we audited this past quarter, a precinct commander sustained a
complaint against an officer for not providing his BPST number when asked for a
badge number. In a memo explaining the finding, the commander writes: "Officer [
] admits that he did not identify himself as required, apparently playing a word
game by stating that his badge did not have a number. Every officer knows that
the civilian parlance for ‘badge number’ refers to their BPST number, and knows
that they are required to give their name and BPST number upon request." This
was a secondary issue in a different case sent to PIIAC on appeal. That officer,
in his interview, said that he attempted to explain to an already irate citizen
that he has no badge number. He did not provide his BPST number. That precinct
commander rendered a finding of "unfounded," which means that the allegation has
Such widely varying interpretations of a General Order create an unfair
disparity. One officer is found in violation and subsequently disciplined;
another officer does the identical thing and is excused.
Time taken from receipt of complaint to when the case was closed out ranged
from one month to nineteen months, with an average of nearly eight months. The
average has increased over previous quarters, although it may be artificially
high this quarter given that approximately 57% of cases audited were sustained,
an unusually high percentage.
Complaints that are sustained typically take longer because they often
require more intensive investigations, and must go through a chain of command
during the review process which certainly adds to the timelines. We should also
point out that this average is probably higher than the average length of time
taken for all complaint investigations, as we routinely audit only the
more serious cases.
Twenty of the cases we monitored were opened in or after June 1996, when the
current IAD commander was appointed. (Those cases do include the declinations.)
The average length of time those complaints were processed was nearly five
months. We commend Capt. Jensen and IAD for continuing to improve overall
timeliness, as well as timeliness for re-investigation of cases returned by
PIIAC. We also note that IAD tracks cases much better than they did several
In our previous quarterly monitoring report, we described an investigation
that was unreasonably delayed. This quarter, we audited several more cases
that suffered from the same problems; these delays could not be justified.
In only one file did we see any kind of memo requesting that a
delayed investigation be concluded. Unjustifiable delays are not fair to either
complainant or officer. In several cases, the complainant and/or potential
witnesses ultimately moved and could not be located (including one case in which
the complaint was sustained). Of course, some complainants and witnesses live
transient lifestyles anyway. Some have weak complaints to begin with and do not
follow up. But others might simply lose faith in the process, possibly choosing
to pursue a civil action instead. PPB may lose out on valuable evidence and
testimony; the Bureau and the officer may have to "settle" for findings of
"Insufficient Evidence." We note that nearly 50% of cases monitored contained an
"Insufficient Evidence" finding. If the complaint is legitimate, the Bureau and
complainant never find out for certain. If the officer was correct, he or she
must live with a questionable finding on the record. Officers do not appreciate
The case that took nineteen months to resolve involved excessive force
allegations. "Insufficient Evidence" was one of the findings. The complaint was
received in June 1995. After the investigator conducted his interviews, he left
IAD and the case sat dormant for six months. In summer 1996, the replacement
investigator had to familiarize himself with the case enough to complete the
final, general summary. He also determined that the previous investigator had
not obtained medical records. He unsuccessfully tried to obtain medical records
at this late date. (Had this step been taken at the outset, the complainant
might have been more cooperative. We do note that IAD has implemented procedures
to secure medical releases when the complaint is taken.) No further work was
done on the case, yet it still remained open until January 1997. No
explanatory notes were in the file as required.
Three other investigations took fourteen months apiece to complete; one took
thirteen months, two took twelve months apiece, two took eleven months apiece,
and the distribution is fairly even from then on. Several of these lengthier
cases were unnecessarily delayed when a departing investigator left simple loose
We are requesting an accounting from IAD of cases that are formally
suspended or over 6 months old.
On a more positive note, we have seen improvement in precinct / division
commanders’ turnaround time. When they receive completed investigations, they
are generally returning cases with recommended findings (or at least a request
for more investigation) before the prescribed deadlines. We noted only one
exception -- a case that took five months from the date the completed
investigation was received to the date findings were recommended. That commander
provided no explanation or request for extension. Review levels are scheduled in
a timely fashion.
Nearly all investigations audited met our standards of quality. We continue
to see examples of both superior and deficient investigative quality. We have
listened to interviews conducted in both IAD and precincts/divisions which are
exemplary and reflect a conscientious amount of preparation and case
We are also seeing some precinct/division level investigations that do not
conform to IAD’s investigative standards. IAD has written guidelines available
to all investigators but we saw a couple of cases that were missing basic items
such as interview summaries. Also, investigators must be diligent about
reporting observations separately from the body of testimony -- such as
in an "Investigator’s Note."
In January 1997, Capt. Jensen distributed a memo to all precincts and
divisions offering additional investigative training. He reports he has had
little response. Although we are aware of the PPB’s limited staff time and
resources, we strongly encourage precinct/division commanders to accept
additional complaints investigation training. Investment in additional training
time could ultimately pay for itself by improving efficiency and reducing
timeliness problems when cases must be reworked. Of the cases audited this past
quarter, PPB supervisors returned eight so that investigative defiencies
could be corrected. Only one of these cases was easily repaired (by
obtaining the officer’s duty notebook entry); the remaining cases required
re-interviews of officers or even multiple witnesses. We saw two common reasons
why re-interviews were requested:
· The initial interview with a subject officer
failed to address all complaint allegations. Officer interviews can be
burdensome to arrange: schedules have to be coordinated between the
investigator, the officer and any representative that officer chooses to have.
To have to do re-interviews because the investigator had not adequately prepared
the first time only wastes time.
· Initial interviews lacked thoroughness; the
investigator failed to develop details, did not closely question the
interviewee(s), and in some cases, allowed too many discrepancies to stand.
We are encouraged that supervisors insist on thoroughness and accuracy.
Unfortunately, lengthy delays compromise the value of additional work.
IV. Declination of Use of Force Complaints
In our last monitoring report, we discussed concerns about declinations of
use-of-force complaints. Because some of the complaints tend more toward
"procedural" issues, we agreed to have Capt. Jensen review proposed declinations
of such complaints through the end of March 1997, after which time we would work
together to develop mutually acceptable criteria.
Capt. Jensen discussed five cases with us; we did not completely agree about
one or two of them. Our next step will be to schedule a meeting and begin
The ten pilot cases have been completed. The Neighborhood Mediation Center is
preparing an evaluation. The draft will be distributed to citizen advisors for
feedback, and a final version will be presented to advisors at the May
IAD’s 1996 statistics are appended to this report as Attachment C.
Chief’s Response to 1996 Third Quarter Monitoring Report
January 29, 1997
To: Mayor Vera Katz
Subject: Response to 1996 Third Quarter Monitoring Report (PIIAC)
The 3rd Quarter report offered two recommendations and I will respond to
RECOMMENDATION ONE referred to timeliness. "We recommend that PPB
address this topic with commanders, and that IAD develop a reminder system for
tracking when adjudication deadlines have come and gone."
I will continue to stress the need for improved timeliness and there is a
reminder system in place. At this point I am concered that Measure 47 budge
reductions may impact these efforts as IAD staff and overall Bureau
command/supervisory staff may be reduced. But, regardless, we will seek to
improve our timeliness.
RECOMMENDATION TWO referred to the authorship and review of
disposition letters. "We recommend that all investigations or inquiries handled
by non-IAD staff be reviewed by IAD before a final disposition letter be mailed
to a complainant. The letter should inform the complainant that IAD has reviewed
the case and concurs with the finding."
Upon review of this recommendation and a clearer understanding of the
request, I am unable to support this recommendation. The managers and commanders
who conduct these inquiries and prepare the letters have my authorization and
trust to do so. If there is something improper about their work then we will
train them as to how to do the job correctly. To simply have IAD do their work
is not acceptable. Hopefully the advisors will clarify the errors, let us
correct the errors and keep the same process. By having managers and commanders
do the inquiry process, we give immediate feedback to the officers and actually
avoid repeat behavior.
This report was due on January 13, 1997 and is late. Timeliness is a never
Charles A. Moose, Ph.D.
Chief of Police
IAD COMPLAINT CATEGORIES
1. Property: Allegation that money, property, evidence and other
valued items have been taken and not properly accounted for, receipted, or
placed in the Property Room.
2. Use of Force: Allegation of excessive or inappropriate physical or
deadly physical force (Refer to G.O. 314.00).
3. Conduct: Allegations of misconduct other than those more
specifically defined by another category, which tend to bring reproach or
discredit upon the Bureau or City of Portland.
4. Disparate Treatment: Allegations of treatment to an individual that
is different from the treatment of another because of
(b) Other: sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, economic status,
political or religious beliefs, appearance, handicap, etc. . .
5. Communication: Allegations relating to attitude, rude conduct, or
verbally abusive conduct other than those addressed in the disparate treatment
6. Performance: Allegations of work performance which fails to meet or
conform with Bureau standards or requirements of an administrative nature such
as lateness, misuse of sick time, etc.
7. Procedure: Allegations of conduct which violates a General Order,
Special Order, or order of a superior officer and which are not more
specifically addressed in sections (1) - (6).
1. Unfounded: Claim is false. Based on the facts of the investigation,
there is no basis to the allegation.
2. Exonerated: Actions of the officer were within the guidelines of
Bureau policy and procedure.
3. Insufficient Evidence: There was not enough evidence to prove or
disprove the allegation(s).
4. Sustained: Officer found to be in violation of Bureau policy or
5. Declined: Police Bureau declines to conduct full investigation.
6. Suspended: Investigation is suspended, usually because complainant
fails to provide key information.