The Council voted 5-0 this afternoon/evening to allow Portland Police Bureau officers, supervisors and the Chief to interact with the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) under specified rules. The Resolution replaces the previous agreement adopted in 2005. It is not the same as the standard Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under which other cities operate with the JTTF.
Andrea Meyer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supported adoption of the Resolution. She said at the hearing, "The Resolution is the beginning of the conversation, not the end. It builds on the 2005 Resolution and provides additional protections." She asked Council to make the required annual report to the public as transparent and detailed as possible, including data and statistics she listed. She also clarified that we are not joinng the JTTF or deputizing Portland Police officers.
In my comments at the vote, I said I am proud of Portland, and I am proud of Portlanders, for the open, transparent, thoughtful process we have conducted over five months under the Mayor's leadership. Mayor Adams set out a careful process that gave me much more information on which to make my decision. I learned a lot from all participants. All my staff in my office, our wonderful intern Vanessa Holguin, and multiple citizens who participated in person, by letters and emails and on the phone, helped inform my decision, as did careful advice from the Human Rights Commission, League of Women Voters, and Copwatch.
I am concerned about civil rights and human rights, and I believe these rights have been and can be violated in these types of investigations. We need to approach every investigation with the concept of first doing no harm to cityzens who are expressing their rights to free expression and free assembly. I believe this Resolution makes that clear.
The JTTF is already operating in Portland. The FBI is already doing investigations in Portland. I want our Police officers, sworn to uphold the Oregon Constitution, Oregon laws, and this Resolution, to be informed about what the JTTF is doing.
I especially appreciate the Mayor agreeing to my request that the annual report in January will be a public document, open for public review and comment. I want to see in it the data and statistics requested by the ACLU in this hearing, in that report.
I particularly thank Andrea Meyer (ACLU) and Dwight Holton (U.S. Attorney) for their work on this historic Resolution, and my colleagues on the Council and the citizens of Portland for shaping it.
This Resolution is clear that we are not rejoining the JTTF, with a standard MOU. It’s crafted to be very Portland, and very clear about what our expectations of our officers, our police chief and our Commissioner-in-charge are. As a package and as an agreement which is pretty historic, I think it moves us forward and it does make us safer It specifies how Portland Police officers will protect civil liberties in Portland. In the end, when the ACLU and Brandon Mayfield tell me they are generally OK with the Resolution, even though probably none of us thinks it's perfect, I believe these experts that civil liberties in Portland are safer with this Resolution than without it.