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The City of Portland, Oregon

Independent Police Review

Providing independent, civilian oversight of the Portland Police Bureau

phone: 503-823-0146

fax: 503-823-4571

1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 140, Portland, OR 97204

High Volume Complaint Assignment

Policy updated: March 2017

High Volume Complaint Assignment Thresholds

From time to time, an incident or interaction involving the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) draws intense, widespread public interest and attention. PPB’s response to protest activity is one common source of such public interest. This public interest often results in IPR receiving a large number of contacts about a particular incident or interaction.

The nature of these contacts is wide ranging. Participants in an incident will submit complaints regarding their direct interaction with PPB. In some cases, community members will submit complaints on behalf of other people they witnessed PPB interacting with. In other cases, community members will submit complaints regarding an interaction they saw on television, or while looking at videos on the Internet. In still other cases, community members from other cities, states, and even countries will contact IPR to share their feelings, whether positive or negative, about a particular incident.

The IPR Investigations Unit has developed the following High Volume Complaint Assignment Thresholds to guide IPR staff in determining how it will respond to community member complaints, commendations, and other contacts. These thresholds are to be used in conjunction with IPR’s High Volume Complaint Protocol (HVCP).

Incident Criteria:

  1. IPR will establish a protocol for the PPB to automatically send to IPR, immediately upon completion, all Incident Action Plans and After Action reports related to a mobilization in response to protest action in Portland.
  2. If an Incident Action Plan exists, or the Incident Command System (ICS) structure was mobilized, IPR will automatically consider the event an HVCP event. Incidents resulting in IPR receiving 10 or more contacts may, at the POD’s discretion, also be considered HVCP events.
  3. If no After Action describes the incident, IPR will request PPB assign a Sergeant to write one.  IPR will review the After Action to identify any potential misconduct concerns, and open an investigation if questions remain that would facilitate a finding on the alleged misconduct.
  4. IPR will identify any issues in the complaint that are generalized concerns about the PPB’s response to the event as a whole, and will track and handle these concerns as policy issues.


Complainant Criteria:

  1. For third party complainants, IPR will collect their comments, but will not open a case unless the direct recipient of the action can be identified and interviewed.
  2. For complainants who were direct witnesses to the action, IPR will interview the complainant and identify the person who was the direct recipient of the action. 
  3. Once the direct recipient of the action is identified, the assigned IPR Investigator will make three separate good faith attempts to interview that potential complainant. 
  4. If there is no engaged complainant, the case will not be prioritized for IPR Independent Investigation, but may be referred to IA, at the discretion of IPR management.


Officer Criteria:

  1. An administrative investigation requires an identified individual officer(s) alleged to have committed misconduct.
  2. If an officer is described, pointed out in a photograph, or otherwise identifiable, IPR will request either:  IA identify the officer and return the results to IPR, or IPR receive photographs, RRT helmet numbers, or other relevant material to assist in identifying the officer.  Moving forward with an investigation requires that the officer can be identified at the intake stage.
  3. IPR will establish a threshold for categories of force complaints:  If there was discretionary action by an individual officer, IPR will treat the complaint as a potential administrative investigation.  If the only action was a coordinated action – such as a push forward by a skirmish line – by RRT, and PPB reports document the action, IPR will not open an investigation into individual officer misconduct. IPR may, at management’s discretion, open an investigation into ICS command staff’s decision to order the coordinated action.