PortlandOnline

POL Government Elected Officials Auditor Griffin-Valade Divisions IPR IPR History PIIAC Quarterly Reports
1st and 2nd Quarter 2000 Monitoring Report

CITIZEN ADVISORS TO
THE POLICE INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
AUDITING COMMITTEE
(PIIAC)
MONITORING REPORT
FIRST AND SECOND QUARTERS YEAR 2000

 
Monitoring Subcommittee Members
Robert Ueland, Chair
Robert Wells
Denise Stone
Ric Alexander
Michael H. Hess, PIIAC Examiner
Approved by PIIAC Citizen Advisors: August 10, 2000
Submitted to City Council: August 30, 2000
 
 

CITIZEN ADVISORS
MONITORING REPORT TO THE
POLICE INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS
AUDITING COMMITTEE
(PIIAC)
FIRST AND SECOND QUARTERS YEAR 2000
 

The PIIAC Citizen Advisors Monitoring Subcommittee is responsible for surveying cases handled by the Portland Police Bureau's Internal Affairs Division (PPB/IAD) involving citizens’ and PPB employees' complaints about alleged police misconduct. The Subcommittee analyzes complaints, IAD investigations, and Risk Management data to "highlight trends of police performance, suggesting necessary Police Bureau policy and procedural changes. Patterns of behavior, unclear procedures, policy issues and training needs may be identified for review."
This report combines monitoring results from the first two quarters of Year 2000.
 
I. FOLLOW-UP TO PREVIOUS QUARTERLY REPORT
 
We have reviewed Chief Kroeker’s response to the Year 1999 PIIAC recommendations (see Attachment A) and are pleased to note that he has concurred with all of our concerns and is taking steps to respond.
PIIAC requested that the Police Bureau improve the timeliness of investigations by assigning a minimum of three additional sergeants and one lieutenant to IAD. Chief Kroeker responded that he concurred with PIIAC’s suggestion and that he has directed a work improvement team to address the timeliness issues and identify the personnel resources needed.
The work improvement team is preparing an "additional package" budget request for two additional support staff, five additional investigation sergeants, and one lieutenant.
PIIAC recommended that General Order 310.40 on Courtesy be re-examined in relation to the use of profanity by police officers. Chief Kroeker responded that he concurs with PIIAC’s suggestion and that a Chief’s staff meeting would be held to address PIIAC’s concerns regarding the use of profanity. To date, a revised General Order has not been published. Captain Smith of IAD has assured the Monitoring Subcommittee that this General Order has been redrafted and is currently in the process of revision and review.
PIIAC recommended that in addition to the diversity training provided in the Academy, the Police Bureau regularly cycle a refresher course of diversity training in the In-Service Training for all officers. Chief Kroeker responded that the Police Bureau will discuss the cultural diversity training needs of the Bureau and determine the frequency of such training and the most effective and appropriate avenue to present this type of training to Police Bureau members. To date, there is no indication that this has been implemented.
PIIAC also requested that the IAD complaint forms be provided in the Hmong and Mien languages in addition to the languages in which they are currently available. Chief Kroeker accepted this recommendation, and implementation is in progress.
 
II. PIIAC/IAD ACTIVITY
 
A. PIIAC Advisory Committee
Charles Ford (Mayor Katz) and Denise Stone (Commissioner Sten) continue to serve as Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the PIIAC Citizen Advisory Committee. The 13-member Advisory Committee remains unchanged since the last monitoring report. Ongoing outreach by PIIAC to minority communities has been successful in increasing the cultural diversity of the Advisory Committee. This committee now includes persons from the African American community, the Hispanic community, and the Asian American community. There are nine men and four women on the committee. Each neighborhood coalition is represented.
A Community Outreach Subcommittee has been formed to explore ways to publicize PIIAC’s work and to encourage community members to attend PIIAC meetings. This subcommittee has been instrumental in taking PIIAC meetings to community meeting places throughout the Portland area. Three of the six meetings in the first and second quarters of Year 2000 were held in neighborhood churches and community centers. (Bethel A M E Church in Northeast Portland, East Portland Community Center in Southeast Portland, and Multnomah Arts Center in Southwest Portland.) Public participation at PIIAC meetings continues to be strongly encouraged.
B. Internal Affairs Division (IAD)
IAD has added a second full-time intake person, retired Sergeant Judy Taylor. Former IAD Sergeant Vince Jarmer was promoted to lieutenant and reassigned to Central Precinct. Sergeant Chuck Shipley has replaced Lt. Jarmer on the IAD investigatory staff.
 
III. Cases Appealed / Monitored
 
Between January and June 2000, PIIAC received 23 new appeals. Eight additional appeals were canceled due to the appellants’ failure to return a PIIAC Request for Review.
During the first six months of Year 2000, the following cases were heard:
PIIAC Case #00-02 (IAD Case #99-297)
Appellant alleged that a Portland Police officer had perjured himself in a pretrial deposition and that the same officer had treated her disparately when he arrested her. The complaint was declined by IAD for lack of merit. PIIAC advisors voted (Y=5, N=6) against the examiner’s recommendation to affirm the IAD declination. The case was sent back to IAD for investigation.
Captain Smith subsequently informed the Monitoring Subcommittee that he stood by his original decision to decline the case. The case was subsequently scheduled for appeal before the full PIIAC (City Council).
PIIAC Case #00-03 (IAD Case #00-019)
Appellant alleged that a Portland Police officer intimidated him by tailgating him and then pulled the Appellant over and cited him for flashing his high beam headlights at the officer. Advisors voted unanimously (Y=12) to affirm IAD’s decision to deny the complaint based on the fact that an independent arbiter (traffic court judge) had found the Appellant guilty of the infraction for which he was cited. The Appellant appealed the Advisors’ decision to the full PIIAC (City Council), which overruled the decision of the PIIAC Advisors and sent the case back to IAD to be investigated. The case is currently being investigated.
PIIAC Case #00-04 (IAD Case #99-310)
Appellant alleged that a Portland Police officer abused his authority by assisting a tribal law enforcement official in recovering tribal property from her Portland residence. Advisors voted unanimously (Y=10) to affirm the IAD decision to decline the procedural aspect of this complaint (that the officer lacked authority for his action). The majority of the Advisors (Y=8, N=2) voted to affirm the declination of the complaint that the officer intimidated the Appellant by showing up at her residence in uniform. The majority of the Advisors (Y=8, N=2) voted to affirm the declination of the complaint that the officer’s speech and demeanor were arrogant.
PIIAC Case #00-05 (IAD Case #00-080)
Appellant alleged that Portland Police officers improperly placed her on a mental health hold. She subsequently cancelled her PIIAC appeal.
PIIAC Case #00-06 (IAD Case #99-146)
Appellant alleged that a Portland police officer filed an erroneous accident report and intimidated her and her family with his angry words and demeanor at the accident scene and later in the courthouse. The Advisors voted unanimously (Y=10) to return this case to IAD for further work Captain Smith wrote a revised Letter of Disposition to the Appellant, clarifying the concerns that she and her father had about the investigation.
PIIAC Case #00-07 (IAD Case #98-170)
Appellant alleged that a Portland police officer used excessive force in arresting him for what the officer had reason to suspect was a drug transaction. The Advisors voted unanimously (Y=11) to uphold the IAD finding of "exonerated with debriefing" regarding the use of force. The Appellant chose not to appeal this case to the full PIIAC, and the case was closed.
PIIAC #00-09 (IAD #00-074)
Appellant alleged a Portland Police officer interfered with her son’s legal visitation rights with his daughter; that the same officer failed to report a violent incident that took place in front of a young child; and that he failed to document in his police report all the facts of an incident in which her son was assaulted and injured. The majority of the Advisors (Y=9, N=1) voted to return the case to IAD for investigation.
In addition to the above cases, in the first two quarters of Year 2000, the PIIAC advisors heard 5 hold-over cases from calendar year 1999. These cases were: PIIAC #99-13 (IAD #99-044), PIIAC #99-25 (IAD #98-195), PIIAC #99-26 (IAD #98-341); PIIAC #99-27 (IAD #98-014), PIIAC #99-28 (IAD #99-179). The IAD findings were upheld on all of these cases.
Summary:
Of the 12 cases reviewed by PIIAC in the first two quarters of Year 2000, 4 (25%) were returned to IAD for further investigation.
Monitoring Audits
In the first two quarters the PIIAC Monitoring Subcommittee audited 27 additional closed IAD investigations. This represents 24% of the 111 IAD cases that were closed in the first two quarters. The Monitoring Subcommittee randomly monitors closed cases, including those that involve use of force, disparate treatment, complaints with sustained findings, and cases that went to PPB’s Review Level Committee.
Cases reviewed for monitoring reflected the following types of allegations:
Use of Force 18
Conduct 11
Disparate Treatment 3
Communication 12
Procedure 18
(See Appendix for IAD definitions of allegations and findings.)
 
Unfounded
Exon-erated
Insuff.
Evid.
Sustained
Inquiry
Suspended
Declined
Media-
tion
Force
2
7
2
0
NA
3
4
NA
Control Tech-niques (new)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
Conduct
5
1
1
2
0
0
2
0
Disparate Treatment
1
0
0
0
NA
2
0
NA
Communication (Now Courtesy)
4
2
4
0
0
1
1
0
Procedure
1
8
4
4
0
0
1
0
Note: A single complaint may reflect multiple allegations and findings and may involve more than one officer.
Sustained complaints had been initiated both internally (from Police Bureau members) and externally (from citizens). Allegations that were sustained included a lack of courtesy and unprofessional conduct at a traffic accident scene, a poorly written report, multiple failures to appear in court, misuse of public property, and being at a location different from that reported to dispatch.
 
IV. Timeliness
 
Lack of timeliness of IAD investigations is a chronic problem and continues to be one of PIIAC's major concerns. Dr. Samuel Walker, professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska and a national authority on police oversight, addressed the PIIAC Advisors at their June 8 meeting and followed up on June 19 with a letter to Mayor Katz in which he made the following comments:
"...as has been documented, the Portland Police Bureau takes an average of thirteen months to complete citizen complaint investigations. As I mentioned on several occasions, this is unacceptable. Other police departments and citizen oversight agencies complete most or all investigation in 90 or 120 days. It is imperative that the performance of the police department reach the level of performance achieved by these other agencies. PIIAC brought this problem to public attention a few years ago, and recommended the addition of more investigators to the police department’s internal affairs unit. If PIIAC is to retain its effectiveness and its credibility with the public, it is imperative that its recommendations be acted upon, particularly on such an important matter."
The PPB General Order on Internal Affairs, Complaint Investigation Process (G.O. 330.00) requires completion of investigations "within 10 weeks of the date the complaint was received by the Bureau." Captain Smith continues to aggressively attack the backlog problem by making prompt decisions about which cases should be investigated, which should be delegated to precinct commanders for inquiry, and which should be declined. Captain Smith also took proactive steps in pursuing a Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) grant for a non-sworn staff member to assist with intake and administrative tasks. However, the PIIAC advisors continue to see cases which have taken well in excess of a year, and at times as much as two years, for IAD to complete.
It appears that the total number of IAD complaints has increased this year compared to previous years. However, it is difficult to quantify the increase because in previous years IAD counted only cases that were opened for investigation, but in calendar year 2000, they began counting all complaints regardless of whether or not a formal investigation is opened. (See Attachment B: Internal Affairs Division Statistics, January 1 through June 30, 2000.) In view of the continuing chronic problems regarding timeliness of IAD investigations, PIIAC again strongly recommends that at least three additional investigative sergeants and a lieutenant be immediately assigned to IAD.
 
IV. Communication Training
 
In the last monitoring period, the PIIAC advisors noted that officers at times gave unclear or confusing commands, notably during traffic stops. In response, Captain Smith took steps to include a communication component within the forty hours of In-Service training required of all officers. This training session included a number of communication scenarios, including traffic stops. The training is also provided to all new recruits in the PPB Academy. The PIIAC Examiner and a PIIAC Advisor were invited to view the training, which was developed by Sergeant Jerry Jones of IAD and presented by Sergeants Jones, Whisler, and Drum. In addition to the communication training for officers, all supervisors and command personnel have received two hours of training in IAD and communication issues. PIIAC recommends that training sessions, such as this one regarding communication, should be videotaped for future training purposes for PIIAC Advisors, laterally hired police officers, debriefings, etc.
V. Profanity
In July 1999 General Order regarding Courtesy (G.O. 310.40) was revised to state in part that "no member shall use profanity in the performance of their duties except where necessary to establish control or to quote another person in police reports or in testimony." PIIAC's concern was that the language in this General Order could be used to justify an officer’s use of profanity when profanity is neither called for nor advisable. In fact, many of the complaints audited by PIIAC since the revision of G.O. 310.40 contained allegations of profanity by officers, even in fairly routine interactions with community members, such as traffic accidents and traffic stops. PIIAC looks with expectation for a rewrite of G.O. 310.40 and hopes that the guidelines for acceptable use of profanity will be significantly tightened.
VI. Disparate Treatment
IAD Statistics continue to show that over 20 percent of IAD complaints are from African Americans. Since the last report, Chief Kroeker has met in a public meeting with the African American community, and he has established a multi-ethnic panel to examine the issue of racial profiling by police officers. He has also agreed with PIIAC’s recommendation to look into the possibility of regularly cycling a refresher course of diversity training in the In-Service training for all officers, but this has not yet been done. PIIAC therefore requests a timeline for implementation of this recommendation.
Training Issue Regarding Lifting and Transporting Heavy Persons
Recently the PIIAC Advisors were called upon to reexamine new allegations regarding a PIIAC case that was originally brought to PIIAC in January 1997. During this reexamination, the Advisors learned that apparently a satisfactory solution was never found to the training problem of officers carrying heavy persons without risk of injury to either the civilian or the police officer. PIIAC again recommends that training techniques for lifting and transporting heavy persons be reexamined in an attempt to come up with a practical solution for this problem.
Availability of Public Records
It has been noted in several recent PIIAC cases that there may be unnecessary financial and administrative barriers to citizens who request access to public documents that are only available in the Police Bureau, including traffic division manuals, General Orders, etc. PIIAC recommends that the Police Bureau examine its current policies and fees for accessing public records and should attempt to identify specific instances in which unreasonable financial barriers are mandated by the current City Code. We further recommend that the Police Bureau should make public documents such as the General Orders available via the Internet, CD ROM, and at public libraries.
Use of the "Distraction Technique"
PIIAC has noted that the term "distraction technique" is still being used by some officers to describe their actions toward suspects. This term appears to be a euphemism for striking a suspect as a control technique or to prevent destruction of evidence by the suspect (e.g., swallowing of unlawful controlled substances.) The Training Division has previously informed PIIAC that the "distraction technique" is not a technique that is taught in training. Officers are taught to strike a person only in response to a physical threat and must follow the principles of the use of force continuum. In one of the cases examined by PIIAC (IAD #98-170), the officer in his interview mentioned the "distraction technique" as a common practice to keep a suspect from swallowing illegal drugs. The commander who issued the findings on the case expressed deep concern about this technique and recommended the following:
"I recommend that the Training Division study the cases in which the distraction principle has been applied and develop some guidelines for the use of the principle. The guidelines should be in close alignment with our current use of force continuum, specifically addressing when is it appropriate to strike someone in the head, which has the potential to result in serious physical injury. Following the review of these guidelines they should be incorporated into the Bureau’s defensive tactics training."
PIIAC recommends that the Police Bureau follow up on the above Precinct Commander’s recommendations regarding "distraction techniques."
Failure of Officers to Identify Themselves
The most common complaint seen by PIIAC and the most easily prevented is the allegation that Portland police officers have refused to provide their identification number when requested. G.O. 312.50 clearly states that all Police Bureau members "will identify themselves by name and DPSST number upon request." PIIAC recommends that the Chief specifically address this issue with the commanding officers and reinforce the requirement that officers identify themselves to the public.

Assisting Motorists
 
PIIAC has noted several times in the past that there is a problem regarding motorists who are left stranded in potentially dangerous locations, for example when a police officer orders a tow of their vehicle. For example, one PIIAC appeal involved a 17-year-old female who was left alone on S.W. Interstate-5 when her car was towed. PIIAC is therefore extremely pleased to note that a General Order on Assisting Motorists (G.O. 630.31) has recently been issued. (See Attachment C.) This new General Order requires that police officers offer assistance to persons who are stranded or in need of assistance (such as, but not limited to, when a person’s vehicle has been towed). PIIAC commends the Police Bureau for this compassionate response to a long-lived problem.
Summary of PIIAC Recommendations
  1. PIIAC recommends that training sessions, such as the one regarding communication, should be videotaped for future training purposes for PIIAC Advisors, laterally hired police officers, debriefings, etc.
  2. In view of the continuing chronic problems regarding timeliness of IAD investigations, PIIAC again strongly recommends that at least three additional investigative sergeants and a lieutenant be immediately assigned to IAD.
  3. PIIAC looks with expectation for a rewrite of G.O. 310.40 and hopes that the guidelines for acceptable use of profanity will be significantly tightened.
  4. PIIAC requests a timeline for implementation of the recommendation that the Police Bureau regularly cycle a refresher course of diversity training in the In-Service training for all officers.
  5. PIIAC again recommends that training techniques for lifting and transporting heavy persons be reexamined in an attempt to come up with a practical solution for this problem.
  6. PIIAC recommends that the Police Bureau examine its current policies and fees for accessing public records and should attempt to identify specific instances in which unreasonable financial barriers are mandated by the current City Code. We further recommend that the Police Bureau should make public documents such as the General Orders available via the Internet, CD ROM, and at public libraries.
  7. PIIAC endorses the recommendation of a Precinct Commander that the PPB Training Division "study the cases in which the distraction principle has been applied and develop some guidelines for the use of the principle. The guidelines should be in close alignment with our current use of force continuum, specifically addressing when is it appropriate to strike someone in the head, which has the potential to result in serious physical injury. Following the review of these guidelines they should be incorporated into the Bureau’s defensive tactics training."
  8. PIIAC recommends that the Chief reinforce G.O. 312.50 requiring that officers identify themselves to the public.
 
Appendix
IAD COMPLAINT CATEGORIES (Revised 1/12/00)
1. Force: An allegation of excessive or inappropriate physical or deadly physical force. This includes, but is not limited to, all instances where there is an actual injury or an impact weapon was used.
2. Control Techniques: An allegation that a "control technique" was used unreasonably or improperly. This would include control holds, hobble, "takedowns," and handcuffing. Temporary discomfort, skin discoloration or marks, or temporary pain are considered normal consequences of the use of a control technique.
3. Conduct: An allegation that tends to bring reproach or discredit upon the Bureau or City of Portland. It involves behavior by a Bureau member that is unprofessional, unjustified, beyond the scope of their authority, or unsatisfactory work performance. Typically this would include violation of the Bureau's Standard of Conduct, Conform to Laws, Unsatisfactory Performance, Truthfulness, etc.
4. Disparate Treatment: Allegations of specific actions or statements that indicate inappropriate treatment of an individual that is different from the treatment of another, because of :
(a) Race.
(b) Other: sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, economic status, political or religious beliefs, appearance, handicap, etc.
5. Courtesy: Allegations relating to attitude and rude or discourteous conduct other than disparate treatment.
6. Procedure: Allegations that an administrative or procedural requirement was not met. This normally would include G.O.s such as the identification, report writing, notebook entries, and property/evidence handling.
 
FINDING CATEGORIES
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 procedure.
5. Declined: Police Bureau declines to conduct full investigation.
6. Suspended: Investigation is suspended, usually because complainant fails to provide key information.