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Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

335.00 DISCIPLINE PROCESS

335.00 DISCIPLINE PROCESS

Index: Title

Refer: City Human Resources Administrative Rules 

Portland City Code 

ORS 161.015 Deadly Physical Force and Serious Physical Injury, Defined 

ORS 161.239 Use of Deadly Physical Force in Making an Arrest or in Preventing an Escape 

DIR 330.00 Internal Affairs, Complaint Investigation Process 

DIR 333.00 Criminal Investigations of Portland Police Employees 

DIR 334.00 Performance Deficiencies 

DIR 336.00 Police Review Board

DIR 338.00 Early Warning System

DIR 344.00 Prohibited Discrimination 

DIR 1010.20 Physical Force

POLICY (335.00) 

Police Bureau members are subject to disciplinary action for cause or just cause. Possible disciplinary actions are identified in Human Resources Administrative Rule 5.1, or the applicable collective bargaining agreement. Generally, discipline is progressive, beginning with an oral or written warning and proceeding to suspension, demotion or discharge. Counseling, instruction and training are not considered disciplinary action and may be used to correct minor, non-repetitive violations of rules and regulations. 

Serious offenses include, but are not limited to, criminal or other unlawful acts, abuse of authority, theft, untruthfulness, excessive force, failure to follow orders, unlawful discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation, hostile work environment, or workplace violence and may justify suspension or discharge without the necessity of prior warnings or attempts at corrective discipline. 

In all cases, the level and degree of discipline shall be in keeping with the seriousness of the offense, taking into account the circumstances relevant to the case. For less serious infractions, which warrant progressive discipline, the ultimate goal is to put the member on notice that certain conduct is unacceptable and to provide the member with a reasonable opportunity to modify his or her behavior. 

It is not the purpose of this directive to require some automatic progression of disciplinary measures. Rather, the circumstances of each situation are considered on a case by case basis.

Guidance for the Discipline Policy (335.00) 

In order to maintain public confidence in the ability of the Bureau to investigate and properly address legitimate complaints concerning employee conduct and performance, a broad range of tools are available. On one end of the spectrum is using corrective counseling techniques to train or correct mistakes. The Bureau also has a responsibility to impose disciplinary action when a member’s conduct or performance warrants it. 

The Bureau’s philosophy with respect to discipline is the same philosophy that is applied to employees who work elsewhere in the City, which is that disciplinary action is one tool available to assist supervisors in working with employees whose behavior or job performance does not meet the expectations associated with the position they hold. Discipline can be used to correct behavior, to deter a violation of rules and regulations, and to hold employees accountable for their behavior or performance. Generally speaking, discipline is used to gain the employee’s attention, put the employee on notice of unacceptable conduct or performance, and give the employee a reasonable opportunity to correct his or her behavior. Each situation in which discipline is considered is unique and will be considered on its own merits. 

Before taking disciplinary action, the Bureau will conduct an investigation to assist it in determining whether the employee, in fact, engaged in misconduct or performance that is contrary to Bureau expectations, whether the employee knew or should have known better, and if so, whether disciplinary action is appropriate and fair considering all the circumstances. The Bureau strives to ensure that its investigations are fair and thorough, with truth as its primary objective. 

In determining what level of discipline is appropriate, the totality of the circumstances surrounding the conduct or performance will be taken into account. The factors identified below are provided as general guidance only, and are not intended to limit the Bureau or to be an all inclusive list. Not all factors come into play in each situation, and one or some factors may outweigh others.

Appropriate Discipline Factors (335.00) 

Fault: This factor includes a variety of considerations, including but not limited to the employee’s intent, the potential harm to others or to the agency, and the seriousness of the performance deficiencies or misconduct. 

Prior Warnings: This factor takes into account what has been communicated to the employee on prior occasions about what is expected, what the member’s attitude has been about the problem, and whether the member accepts responsibility for correcting the behavior. 

Discipline History: This factor will consider what stage of progressive discipline the situation warrants, if progressive discipline has been used in the past. All recent discipline is relevant, not just discipline for a specific kind of conduct.

Types of Disciplinary Action

Letter of Expectation: A written document reinforcing Bureau expectations as they relate to performance and/or policy and procedures.  It is designed to correct behavior without proceeding to the first step of formal disciplinary action.   

Command Counseling: A discussion about an incident or behavior focusing on improving future performance.  This discussion will be documented in a memorandum.  

Letter of Reprimand: A formal letter, detailing a member’s behavior that violated one or more Bureau directives, which is placed in the member’s Personnel File.  

Suspension: Removal from work status, without pay, for specified period of time.  

Demotion: Reversion to a lower rank or job classification.  

Discharge: Termination of Police Bureau employment.  

Directive Specific Definitions 

Due process hearing: A pre-disciplinary meeting with the Chief of Police and the involved member to discuss the member’s proposed discipline. 

Finding: A determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, of whether an allegation against a member is sustained, unproven, or exonerated.  

Findings Cover Sheet: A form attached to an administrative investigation case file by the RU manager recommending the finding, with sections for the Branch Chief, IA Manager, and IPR Director to list whether they concur with the findings and/or recommend a Police Review Board hearing.  

Case file: A file containing copies of all of the reports and documents for a specific case.

Preponderance of the Evidence: Facts and circumstances indicating it is more likely than not that a violation of a Directive either occurred or did not occur.  

PROCEDURE

Case Review and Findings

When an administrative investigation is complete, IA will send the case file to the principal member’s RU manager for review and recommended findings.  Findings will be one of the following:

Unproven: The allegation was not proven by a preponderance of the evidence.  

Exonerated: The member’s actions were within Bureau policy and procedure.  

Sustained: The allegation was proven by a preponderance of the evidence.  

Debriefings may be recommended for Unproven or Exonerated findings when the RU Manager believes the involved employee would benefit from a discussion and critique of the incident.  

RU Manager Responsibilities (or his/her designee) 

1. Upon receipt of an administrative investigation file for review (either from IA or an investigator within the RU), the RU manager will, within 14 days:

a. Review the investigation 

b. Determine which section(s) of the Manual of Policy and Procedure apply to each allegation.  

c. Prepare a memorandum recommending a finding for each allegation, listing all members who should have entries on their IA records, and articulating the rationale for each finding.  The finding(s) must cite the appropriate section of the Manual of Policy and Procedure.   

d. Prepare a discipline recommendation in cases where the RU manager recommends sustaining any of the allegations.  

e. Attach a Findings Cover Sheet listing the findings and containing any recommendation for Police Review Board review.    

f. Forward the case file, recommended finding memo, discipline recommendation, and Findings Cover Sheet to the Branch Chief.  

g. An exception to the 14 day time limit may be granted by the Branch Chief.  

2. RU managers may recommend a bifurcation of the findings that were not part of the complainant’s allegation(s) but were uncovered during the administrative investigation. If the bifurcated findings consist of minor rule violations or quality of service, they need not be sustained as part of that investigation, but handled as a debriefing. If the new findings are more serious, the RU manager may send the case back for additional investigation, if necessary, or make a recommendation on the new finding.

3. Before making a discipline recommendation, the RU manager will review both the member’s discipline history and Bureau discipline history for similar offenses. 

 Branch Chief / Director’s Responsibilities (or his/her designee) 

Within 7 days of the receipt of the RU Manager’s recommendations: 

Review the RU manager’s recommendations for findings and discipline.  

Decide whether to concur or controvert the proposed findings and document this decision on the Findings Cover Sheet.  

Send the case file to the Professional Standards Division Manager.  

Professional Standards Division Manager’s Responsibilities (or his/her designee)

Within 7 days of receipt of the RU Manager’s Recommendations:

1. Send a copy of the case file to the IPR Director for his/her review.  

2. Review the RU manager’s recommendations for findings and discipline.  

3. Decide whether to concur or controvert the proposed findings and document this decision on the Findings Cover Sheet.  

IPR Director’s Responsibilities (or his/her designee)

Review the RU manager’s recommendations for findings and discipline.  

Decide whether to concur or controvert the proposed findings and document this decision on the Findings Cover Sheet.  

Send the Findings Cover Sheetto the Professional Standards Division Captain.    

If the finding is controverted, the case will be heard by the Police Review Board in accordance with Directive 336.00, Police Review Board.  

If the finding is exonerated or unproven, the IA manager will close the case and prepare a disposition letter to the complainant and the involved member.  He/she will forward the letter to IPR for review and mailing to the complainant 

If the finding is sustained, the procedure from this point depends on the level of discipline recommended.  Disciplinary action may commence at the conclusion of any Citizen Review Committee appeal process.  

Procedure for recommended discipline of less than suspension:

IA Manager’s Responsibilities (or his/her designee)

1. Refer all cases where proposed discipline is less than suspension (Letter of Expectation, Command Counseling, or Letter of Reprimand) to the subject member’s RU manager to implement the discipline.  

2. File original copies of all case files.  

3. Return the case file to the RU manager to implement the discipline.  

The RU manager and Branch chief will be responsible for imposing the disciplinary action according to the following steps: 

1. The RU manager, in consultation with the Discipline Coordinator, will prepare the proposed Letter of Expectation, Command Counseling or Letter of Reprimand as appropriate. The RU manager will also complete and attach the discipline memo and a complete copy of the case. 

2. The Branch chief will review the RU manager’s recommended action and, if he/she approves of the recommendation, he/she will forward the memo to the Chief of Police for his/her approval and signature. Following the Chief’s approval, the memo will be forwarded to the RU manager. 

3. The RU manager will meet and discuss the incident with the member. If the RU manager is imposing Command Counseling or a Letter of Expectation, the RU manager will communicate the expectations in the meeting with the member. If the RU manager is proposing a Letter of Reprimand, the RU manager will impose the discipline by serving the member with the proposed Letter of Reprimand. 

4. If the discipline is a Letter of Reprimand, the member can request a due process hearing with his/her Branch chief. If the discipline is Command Counseling of a District Council of Trade Union (DCTU) member, the member may request a due process hearing with his/her Branch chief after conferring with the Chief of Police before the discipline is imposed. 

5. The RU manager will document that the disciplinary action has been completed in a memo to the Branch Chief, who will forward it to the Professional Standards Division.  

6. The RU manager will direct a memo through channels to the Personnel manager that the disciplinary action has been completed. The memo, along with all documentation including case file and all tapes, as appropriate, will be filed in the member’s discipline file and/or personnel (201) file.

Procedure for recommended discipline of suspension or greater:

All cases in which recommended discipline is suspension or greater will be heard by the Police Review Board (PRB), which will draft a recommendation for findings and discipline to the Chief of Police.  Review Board procedures are outlined in Directive 336.00.  

IA Manager’s Responsibilities (or his/her designee)

Refer all cases where proposed discipline is suspension or greater, or any of the findings are controverted, to the Review Board Coordinator to schedule a Police Review Board (PRB).  (See Directive 336.00, Police Review Board, for the Review Board process)

File original copies of all case files.  

Notify the subject member when the case is set for a PRB hearing and allow the member to review the case file, including the findings.  The member must be notified at least 14 days before the hearing date.  

4. At the conclusion of the PRB hearing, draft a letter to the complainant explaining the disposition of each allegation in the complaint and submit the letter to IPR to be mailed to the complainant.  This letter will not contain information about discipline imposed.  

Involved Member’s Responsibilities (335.00)

Involved members who are subject to discipline may review the case file prior to the PRB hearing date.  

Members may be accompanied by an attorney or bargaining unit representative during case file review and the PRB hearing.  

In cases where the PRB recommends a member be disciplined, the member may request a due process hearing with the Chief of Police prior to the Chief’s final decision.  This hearing is the member’s opportunity to discuss the case with the Chief, as well as any mitigating factors the member wishes to present.  The member’s RU manager and bargaining unit representative may also address the Chief during the due process hearing.  

Chief of Police’s Responsibilities (335.00)

Review and evaluate the PRB’s recommended findings and discipline.  

After the resolution of any appeal to the Citizen Review Committee, conduct a due process hearing if requested by the involved member.

Determine the appropriate course of action and/or discipline In cases where the recommended discipline is demotion or discharge, make a discipline recommendation to the Commissioner in Charge.  

Debriefings

In cases where the final disposition is Unproven with a debriefing or Exonerated with a debriefing, the involved member’s RU manager will conduct the debriefing and document it in a memo to the IA manager.  The Professional Standards Division will be responsible for tracking debriefings.  

RESPONSIBILITY, ACCOUNTABILITY AND CONTROL (341.00) 

It is the responsibility of every supervisor and RU manager to ensure that subordinate members comply with policies, procedures and rules. Supervisors and RU managers will take appropriate action when they observe or have knowledge of violations of City and Bureau policies, procedures and rules. Failure by a supervisor or RU manager to take appropriate action may subject the supervisor or RU manager to disciplinary action. 

RU managers will ensure that members of their Divisions know and understand the Bureau’s expectations with regard to their conduct. Additionally, RU managers will ensure that all complaints, both internal and external, are treated equally and in accordance with Bureau guidelines.

 

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