Policing is a partnership between the community served and those trained and sworn to protect and serve. Over the last decade Portland Police have expanded their reach into areas where policing may not be appropriate.
My vision for Portland Police includes getting the community and police on the same page regarding how our various communities in Portland want to be policed. At this time, more and more technology, more discretion to use a gun, more interface with those experiencing mental health crises, and less and less training are provided to police – and this is not just a Portland problem, but it still is a Portland problem. This widening discretion to use deadly or excessive force stands in conflict with community accountability.
I believe we will get to a shared vision after we have made critical improvements to how these services are provided, such as training our police properly, limiting police duties and putting common sense accountability measures in place.
As much as possible I believe we need to include community members as co-trainers in all training conducted at Portland Police Training Facility. My experience training officers at the Department of Public Safety Training Standards and Practices (DPSST) proves that police learn from each other as well as community members and it ingrains the practice into policing behavior. I believe there are five basic principles to creating a meaningful training program:
- Recruit and train community members to co-facilitate Portland police training at the Portland Police Training Facility
- Invite other local law enforcement to participate in co-facilitated training
- Introduce new, better-informed training on use of force with an emphasis on how internal bias impacts an officer’s choice to pull the trigger of a gun
- Ensure training instills the value that all community members are valued
- Ensure all officers are well trained in de-escalation tactics and strategies
Back to Basics
I believe we need to allow our police to get back to policing, which means re-assigning officers back to patrol from activities that don’t serve a community policing model. I would move to:
- Reassign school resource officers to patrol
- Reassign gang enforcement officers to patrol
- Reassign Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force Officers to patrol
- Allow firefighters to serve as first responders for persons experiencing mental health related issues
Create a Real Community Policing Program
I want to work with Chief Outlaw to develop a robust community engagement program that is led by community needs and concerns. I believe we need to get to a model where we actively deploy officers in a manner that allows them to walk the community and get to learn about the people they serve in the community. This will require building trust in the community. I believe we need to require priority engagement with adults from diverse communities and should also include creating meaningful relationships with our children.
Create Meaningful Community Accountability Standards
In order to build meaningful relationships, first, meaningful accountability must be provided. I believe we need to review the current police oversight process, and to make appropriate changes. These changes include a need to:
- Review all advisory committees to determine their usefulness and reporting structure.
- Ensure that any committee evaluating or recommending remedies for the use of excessive force are more accountable to the community, and that these remedies are taken seriously, including above the job security of police officers
- Ensure evaluations capture complaint resolution, disciplinary recommendations, final actions by the department, and citizen appeals
- Disband, revise, or replace committees or advisory groups as needed
- Require public input on all policy changes proposed to Portland Police Bureau practices
- Create a model whistleblower policy for Portland Police Bureau that ensures that our officers feel safe if they need to report unacceptable behavior