City Selects Team for Compliance Officer and Community Liaison to Support Police Reform
FRIDAY, NOV. 7, 2014 – Portland City Commissioners will enter negotiations next week with a team led by Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum of the University of Illinois at Chicago to serve as the Compliance Officer and Community Liaison.
Joining the Rosenbaum team will be retired Chief Justice Paul De Muniz of the Oregon Supreme Court.
Also on the team is Dr. Amy Watson, an associate professor at the University of Illinois’ Jane Addams College of Social Work, and a nationally recognized expert on police interactions with people experiencing mental illness.
The City Council will consider the ordinance at its Wednesday, Nov. 12, meeting.
“This is a world-class team, which will make sure the city remains in compliance with the settlement, and works in good faith with our community,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Adding Justice De Muniz to the team gives this position true gravitas.”
Commissioner Amanda Fritz coordinated the proposed selection of this team, in consultation with Mayor Hales and all Commissioners, after considering public input in the 30-day public comment period required by the Settlement Agreement.
“I was impressed with all three finalists for the position,” she said. “While I share some concerns we heard from community members that a team based in Chicago might have challenges becoming and staying connected in Portland, I believe the active involvement of Justice De Muniz will provide the necessary well-grounded local leadership.”
Rosenbaum is a professor of criminology; law and justice; and psychology at the University of Illinois. He was worked extensively on the issues of police interactions with communities.
De Muniz was the first Hispanic Chief Justice in Oregon, elected to the Supreme Court in 2000, and elected as Chief Justice in 2006. He also served on the Oregon Court of Appeals for 10 years. He attended Madison High School in Portland and Portland State University.
During the meeting Nov. 12, De Muniz said his proudest work was ensuring access to justice for all people. He started the practice of visiting small towns in Oregon to explain big decisions in the Supreme Court. And under his leadership the Oregon Justice Department launched E-Courts, giving people access to courts all day, every day.
“My goal has been to make sure the system operates fairly,” said De Muniz, who read the DOJ agreement hundreds of times as he led mediation among the city and other parties to the settlement. “In this context, I will make sure there is a voice for community here.”
Also on the team are Dr. Geoffrey Alpert, professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina; and Tom Christoff of the National Police Research Platform, which assists with the development of survey tools and research methodology in police-community interactions.
The city also is considering hiring a mental health advocate and specialist who will assist a Community Oversight Advisory Board, or COAB, on issues related to mental illness. Recruitment starts in December.
That board, along with the Compliance Officer/Community Liaison – also known as the COCL – are part of the settlement agreement between the city and the Federal Department of Justice to reform police practices in the city. The city, DOJ, the Albina Ministerial Alliance for Justice and Police Reform, and the police union came to an agreement on a settlement earlier this year, and a federal judge accepted the agreement in August.
The city has been enacting a wide array of the reforms, including in the areas of police training and discipline; use of force and use of Tasers; and de-escalation policies. In October, Mayor Hales announced that Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea would be promoted to chief, starting in January. O’Dea has been a leader in enacting police reforms and building relationships with the community.
The naming of the Compliance Officer and Community Liaison is the latest step in years of work to improve police procedures.
The role of the COCL includes auditing, surveying and analysis of the level and quality of the city’s implementation of the DOJ settlement. The COCL also will collaborate with the community to measure success of improvements to police interactions.
Mayor Hosts Meeting with Community Leaders, Future Chief Larry O'Dea
TUESDAY, OCT. 14, 2014 — Last week Mayor Charlie Hales hosted Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea, freshly named as the police chief’s successor, and community leaders to get feedback on community interests.
The Rose Room at City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 8, was full of elected officials, representatives from nonprofits, and stakeholders in the biking, African-American, faith, immigrant, and other communities.
Themes to the feedback arose. Community members want:
> A clear statement in words and action that O’Dea wouldn’t be the status quo; they don’t want “business as usual.”
> More engagement with the immigrant community, revisiting ideas such as Russian-speaking police officers appearing on Russian Radio 1010 AM, which was touted as successful outreach.
> Diversity in interview panels for entry-level and sergeant jobs, as well as in police outreach activities like the Citizens Academy. The academy is a one-day, day-in-the-life training in which citizens can learn about an officer’s day. Particularly since the bureau’s new training facility will serve as the sole location for the academy—rather than upward of four locations previously—the community requested more outreach to people of color, the immigrant community, and low-income citizens.
For facilitators, a few individual ideas stood out:
Gale Castillo, president of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber: Castillo suggested better outreach to Latinos and other people of color to encourage them to become non-sworn, community service officers. Such entry-level positions provide non-emergency police services, which sets them on the path to becoming sworn officers.
Jonathan Maus, bike advocate and founder of BikePortland.org: Maus suggested using bike patrol units on the Springwater Corridor, where there has been an influx of homeless campers. Maus also asked O’Dea to consider forming a bike theft task force to address what he says is a growing problem.
Avel Gordly, community organizer and former state senator: Gordly encouraged O’Dea and the Police Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit to work closely with the Avel Gordly Center for Healing at OHSU, which provides culturally specific mental health care.
Dr. T. Allen Bethel, pastor at Maranatha Church: Bethel asked for intentionality around the chief’s office appointments. People in the room nodded in agreement when he specified intentionality in appointing people of color.
Chief Reese Announces Retirement
Mayor Names Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea as Successor
TUESDAY, OCT. 7, 2014 – Chief Mike Reese today announced his plans for retirement from the Portland Police Bureau. Mayor Charlie Hales has named his replacement: Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea.
“Larry O’Dea is one of the most decorated officers in the bureau — 11 medals and 75 letters of commendation,” Hales said. “He shares my goals and aspirations. He has been living the idea of community engagement. He has led the bureau’s equity work. He has the respect of the command staff, the rank-and-file, and the community. He is the right leader at the right time.”
Hales, O’Dea and Reese today will host a press conference about the transition, which is planned for January 2015. It will be the first smooth transition between chiefs in two decades.
The mayor praised Reese’s tenure as chief, citing not only the U.S. Department of Justice settlement, but also the opening last month of the most complete law enforcement training facility in the region. Under Reese’s leadership, the bureau instituted new discipline guidelines, new training procedures, and has hired a more diverse set of new officers in recent recruitments.
“I thank Mike Reese for his leadership and his service,” Hales said. “Mike saw us through the investigation and settlement with the DOJ. This was a key milestone for our city and the community’s relationship with the bureau.”
Reese joined the bureau in 1994 and served as a sergeant, lieutenant, captain and commander. A native Portlander and graduate of Roosevelt High School, he has served as chief since May 2010.
O’Dea will immediately begin leading strategic planning that has long-term impacts for the bureau, including the DOJ settlement implementation, budget, staffing study, promotions, and transition to a new records management system.
O’Dea has served with Portland Police since 1986. He has been a uniformed patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain. He has served as assistant chief of services and assistant chief of operations.
He has an executive certificate from the Mark Hatfield School of Government at PSU; a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from Portland State University; and an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Portland Community College.
“We have made important strides in diversifying the bureau, in hiring, in training, in discipline guidelines, in de-escalation,” Hales said. “And with Mike taking a well-earned retirement, Larry O’Dea is exactly the right person to handle the big challenges ahead.”
Hales said his priorities for the next chief will include:
● Expanding community engagement. That includes the walking beats re-introduced this year.
● Focusing on equity and diversity issues, including training for officers and continued recruitment of a more representative workforce.
● Critiquing the Police Bureau’s budget, ensuring taxpayers’ dollars are used wisely.
● Implementing the DOJ settlement on schedule.
Among the DOJ settlement’s requirements are consistent leadership and smooth transitions between chiefs. O’Dea participated in all aspects of the DOJ discussions, and understands the nuances of the complex agreement.
O’Dea said he is honored to accept the position of police chief.
“My four primary focus areas are: Community trust and relationship building; diversifying the bureau and bureau leadership; communications and collaboration; and being fiscally smart and responsible,” O’Dea said.
“I am so excited about the direction we’re moving,” he added. “You can see it in the command staff and in the rank-and-file. It’s about relationships with the community. It’s not about the number of arrests; it’s about working on the things that are important to the community.”
The press conference is at noon at the Justice Center in the Wayne Sullivan Room, 14th Floor, 1111 SW 2nd Ave.
Mayor Encourages Public Comment on Candidates for DOJ Compliance Officer/Community Liaison
MONDAY, OCT. 27, 2014 — As the deadline for comment approaches, Mayor Charlie Hales is encouraging public feedback on candidates for Compliance Officer/Community Liaison, or COCL.
The COCL will oversee the city’s compliance with a U.S. Department of Justice settlement agreement outlining police reforms, and act as liaison between the community and City Council, ensuring community thoughts and concerns are heard.
“We have three excellent, highly qualified candidates, and it’s important for people in the community to let us know what they think,” Hales said. “We need the public to trust whoever fills this role to monitor the city’s compliance with the settlement.
“We have made great progress in fulfilling the agreement,” Hales added. “We hope the liaison will bolster public trust as we continue with the process.”
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2011 began investigating Portland Police practices, particularly related to those experiencing mental health crises. The DOJ in 2012 found that the Police Bureau needed to reform its policies and training.
When Hales took office in 2013, he embraced the settlement agreement.
Under his leadership, the bureau started implementing action items in the agreement, before it was approved by a federal judge on Aug. 29, 2014.
Among the changes, the Behavioral Health Unit has been expanded and the Crisis Intervention Team has been enhanced, with officers specially trained to respond to people experiencing mental health crises in precincts across the city.
The Police Bureau has changed its policies on the use of Tasers and on use of force. Officers today practice de-escalation tactics, which has reduced use-of-force incidents from 450 in mid-2008 to fewer than 200 in mid-2014.
“More and more our officers are de-escalating confrontations, responding with thoughtfulness and compassion,” Hales said. “Most of the time you won’t read about that in the papers. But change is happening. A liaison who the public trusts will make certain change continues in the direction the community wants.”
Click here for the full list of DOJ agreement action items and their progress (PDF).
The deadline to comment is Oct. 29.
John Campbell (PDF)
Dennis Rosenbaum (PDF)
Daniel Ward (PDF)
John Campbell (PDF)
Dennis Rosenbaum (PDF)
Dennis Rosenbaum team bios (PDF)
Daniel Ward (PDF)
Video of presentations:https://www.portlandoregon.gov/article/506223
To provide feedback:
Click here to fill out an online form
Attend the City Council hearing Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m. in Council Chambers, City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Ave.
Hawthorne Walking Beats Change Tenor of Community
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3, 2014 – For the past six months, Portland Police Bureau officers have been walking beats, an old-fashioned concept that had grown out of style in past decades. The first such walking beats are part of a pilot program in downtown, the Central Eastside and along Hawthorne Boulevard.
Reporter Sami Edge of Willamette Week spent several days in August shadowing the officers along Hawthorne, and talking to business people, customers, service providers and youths who hang out along the commercial strip.
“I was convinced that a return to walking beats would change the way the community interacts with Portland Police,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “Finding a new dynamic between Portlanders and Portland Police has been my priority since I took office. And we’re seeing it on Hawthorne. The officers are great. The community is happy. This is a success.”
Hales’ initiatives in 2013 and 2014 have included shepherding through reforms spelled out in a Department of Justice settlement agreement; a focus on the Office of Youth Violence Prevention; the Enough is Enough campaign to encourage community activism in fighting violence; the Black Male Achievement initiative; equity projects with the U.S. Conference of Mayors; and a three-day equity training for senior, white, male leaders in the mayor’s office and Portland Police command staff titled, “White Men as Full Diversity Partners.”
To see if the walking beats are working, Hales toured Hawthorne on Friday, Aug. 29, speaking with customers, shop owners, street youths and officers, including Sgt. Ric DeLand, who’s been with Portland Police for 24 years.
“We’re interacting with them every day,” DeLand said of the street youths on Hawthorne. “We’re involved in their joys, their breakups, their hangovers, their feuds.”
The idea behind walking beats is to create a relationship between officers and members of the community, before a law-enforcement incident occurs. Central Precinct Police Commander Robert Day has been a strong proponent of the beats.
So has DeLand. “Instead of only having contact with the police when they’re being told they’re doing something wrong, they have daily contact with police, petting their dogs, getting to know their story, connecting them with services, understanding what makes them feel unsafe, letting them know we’re aware of any bad behavior,” DeLand said. “It’s analogous to parenting: Don’t ignore someone until they do something wrong and then punish them. But that’s what we do with law enforcement. It doesn’t make sense. You make everything about enforcement you’re just going to get rebellion. Make them part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”
Hales spoke to several people along Hawthorne, including a street musician who goes by the moniker Rain Bojangles. “Wow. It’s much better here now,” Bojangles said. He plays music on a handmade string instruments and often can be seen near the Powell’s Books on Hawthorne. “We used to have a lot of troublemakers who just made things worse for everywhere. They’re gone now, and that’s nice.”
Bojangles pointed to Sgt. DeLand and added: “He stops and talks to me almost every day. He’s a nice guy. He’s here to help.”
DeLand said the walking beats have allowed his officers to see a new aspect to the houseless community and street youths who frequent the area. “To us, prior to this, they all looked the same,” DeLand said. “Now, instead of painting everybody with a broad brush and trying to stamp out traveling in Portland, we’ve targeted the bad behaviors. That builds credibility with the larger community through word-of-mouth.”
And is there danger, walking a beat rather than being in a patrol car? DeLand laughs. “Of the hundreds and hundreds and hundreds dogs I’ve pet — all these ‘vicious’ pit bulls — the only time I’ve been bit was by a 7-pound Chihuahua named Pizza. I made the mistake of petting Pizza while he was sound asleep.”
City Appeal to Clarify Judge’s Role in DOJ Settlement
FRIDAY, OCT. 17, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Amanda Fritz on Wednesday will present City Council with a resolution to authorize the City Attorney’s Office to appeal one condition Federal Judge Michael Simon placed on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement agreement.
The judge approved the settlement — an agreement among the City, Portland Police Association, DOJ, and Albina Ministerial Alliance — on Aug. 29. It followed a 2011 DOJ investigation into the Portland Police Bureau.
Hales and Fritz support the reforms outlined in the settlement agreement. Under Hales’ leadership, the Police Bureau started implementing aspects of the agreement long before Simon approved it. The Police Bureau remains committed to moving forward with reforms outlined in the agreement, and will continue to implement all of the changes regardless of court proceedings.
The purpose of the appeal is to clarify the judge’s role. In his order, Simon wrote that the parties were “to present evidence … as so directed by the Court.” The City’s appeal will ask the court to clarify that broad statement.
“All the parties are committed to this settlement. All parties have agreed to this settlement,” Hales said. “Now we want to move forward, get out of court and get to work.”
Fritz said she’s glad Judge Simon accepted the settlement agreement: “It clearly identifies that the Council is directly responsible for oversight, which ensures that Portlanders know who is responsible and accountable for managing the Police Bureau in conformance with the community’s values. The settlement emphasizes community engagement. I believe that public trust in policing in Portland depends on all Council members demonstrating that we are committed to implementing the Agreement fully. I accept that responsibility. I look forward to collaborating with all Portlanders on this crucial work, especially those with lived experience enduring mental illnesses.”
Hales further emphasized that police reforms would continue as outlined under the settlement agreement: "This appeal does not challenge the settlement that four stakeholders — the U.S. Department of Justice, the City, Portland Police Association, and Albina Ministerial Alliance — agreed to. The City and the Police Bureau are fully committed to the reforms outlined in the settlement agreement. Chief Mike Reese, our next chief Larry O’Dea, and the entire bureau remain dedicated to continually improving the service our police officers deliver to the community. This resolution authorizes a narrow appeal to clarify the judge’s role in the implementation. We all want to move forward, get out of court and get to work.
Update: Coverage from The Mercury.
Portland Police Unveil Training Facility
FRIDAY, SEPT. 19, 2014 – Portland Police unveiled a new training facility on Northeast Airport Way, which is designed to help train law enforcement officers from throughout the region improve.
The 10-acre property was purchased in 2012. It was funded with a $15 million bond measure and came in on time and on budget. The facility is expected to generate revenue when it is rented out to other city and county law enforcement agencies.
An open house is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the facility, 14902 N.E. Airport Way. It will include tours and an opportunity to participate in the obstacle course.
Better training is a key component of the settlement between the City of Portland and the U.S. Department of Justice. Mayor Charlie Hales said the goal is to train “smart, strong and humane” police officers.
Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea told The Oregonian’s Maxine Bernstein, “In the end, what we’re trying to do is build better decision-makers.”
The facility includes an obstacle course, exercise rooms, two firing ranges and office space for the trainers. The former warehouse also includes a mock street scene with cars and buildings, which officers can use for training scenarios. There are no roofs on the buildings, so trainers can watch from above, and videotape, the scenarios for performance reviews.
“This is unlike anything anyone has, anywhere in the area,” said Commander Robert Day, Central Precinct.
Chief Michael Reese said the facility will allow for far better training than in the past, when officers had to travel as far as two hours each way to take advantage of firing ranges, driving ranges and scenario-based training.
The 10-acre property was purchased in 2012. It was funded with a $15 million bond measure and was finished on time – except for the façade. The night before Thursday’s ribbon-cutting, thieves stole a portion of the façade, thinking it was metal and they could sell it as scrap. It wasn’t; they didn’t; and the thieves were apprehended. Mayor Charlie Hales stood in front of the half-finished façade on Thursday and joked about the quality of Portland’s thieves.
Among the elected officials who helped make the facility a reality were former Mayor Sam Adams and former Commissioner Randy Leonard; both of whom were present Thursday.