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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

Interviewing Community Member Witnesses

Policy updated: March 2016

Interviewing Community Member Witnesses

 

IPR Investigators are expected to make reasonable attempts to contact civilian witnesses identified either by the complainant or investigator as having relevant information regarding the complaint against the officer.   Upon contact, investigators will identify themselves by title and explain their role and function with the Auditor’s Office 

To safeguard the confidentiality of the complaint process, the IPR Investigators will not share the identity of the complainant or statements made by the complainant. There are circumstances where the situation requires identifying the complainant, and the investigator is expected to understand the sensitive nature of confidentiality in IPR investigations at such times.  The IPR Investigator will seek to determine whether the complainant wishes to have their identity shared with witnesses, or has already informed the witness that they are the complainant.

If contact with witnesses cannot be made within the intake screening time period, the IPR Investigator will document the need for a witness interview.  The investigator will include contacting the outstanding witnesses in the “Potential Additional Tasks” section of the report.  The investigator will document all attempts to contact witnesses (including successful contact) in the Chronological Record.

IPR will coordinate investigations with Internal Affairs, to decrease duplication of investigative tasks.   An IPR Investigator will assess a new complaint after initial intake tasks, and staff with the IPR Director assigned to determine if the complaint is likely to be referred for an investigation by Internal Affairs.  The IPR Investigator will determine, with the Director assigned, whether to complete all community member interviews, or to assign the case to IA with some interviews pending, in order to prevent duplication of efforts.  Any interviews conducted by IPR will be transcribed, and the transcript and recording provided to Internal Affairs.

IPR provides recordings of interviews, and transcripts of the recordings, when a complaint is referred to IA for investigation, or referred as a Service Improvement Opportunity.  This allows the IA Investigator to review interviews, and reduces the possibility that a re-interview is needed.