I applaud Auditor Griffin-Valade and Commissioner Leonard for working on recommended changes to the Independent Police Review (IPR) process, in their proposed Ordinance released Friday and scheduled for a Public Hearing this coming Thursday, March 18 at 2 p.m. I am looking forward to hearing and reading public comments. This is an extremely important issue, with all members of Council sharing the community's commitment to transparency, accountability, and improving trust in community and police relations. I commend Commissioner Saltzman for his willingness to consider and support changes to review of Police Bureau policies and actions.
In order to allow sufficient time for public review and comments on these important proposed changes to the Code and policies, Commissioner Fish and I will make a motion after testimony on Thursday that the Council continue the hearing until an evening hearing in April, after the April meeting of the Human Rights Commission on April 7. We will set the date in our motion after collaborating with our colleagues to ensure all can attend. Council will take more public comment that evening in April before voting on amendments to the current IPR process. Commissioner Saltzman has told me he will support the motion.
This additional hearing and delay in the vote will allow:
- Citizens who cannot or don't want to take the afternoon off work this coming Thursday, to testify at an evening meeting later.
- Citizen organizations and committees, including the Human Rights Commission and its Community and Police Relations Committee, Citizens Review Committee, and multiple community organizations that have been invested in this issue for many years, time to give input on the proposal.
- Time for any proposed amendments to be considered thoroughly.
- Police Chief Rosie Sizer to attend the second hearing. She is at a training in London on March 18.
Commissioner Fish and I are deeply committed to increasing trust and accountability between the community and the police, along with the whole Council and Auditor Griffin-Valade. We sincerely appreciate the work Auditor Griffin-Valade and Commissioner Leonard have done to propose amendments to the Independent Police Review process. We believe this Ordinance is too important to vote on with five days of public review and only one opportunity for testimony before Council.
Public involvement and transparency in decision-making are two of my core values. I believe it is important for our citizen experts and all Portlanders to have the opportunity for meaningful review and amendment of any significant proposal. In my experience, when given accurate, inclusive information and mechanisms for real input, Portlanders make good decisions in partnership with your elected officials.
You are welcome to participate in the first hearing next Thursday afternoon, at the second hearing in April, and/or to send the Council your advice via email. Auditor Griffin-Valade and Commissioner Leonard's Ordinance is here. Comments are welcome posted here, or sent to me directly by email.