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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

Special Handling Process

Reference: PSF-5.19

Policy updated: March 2016

Special Handling Process

The IPR Director may authorize in writing that repeated complaints from specifically-named individuals receive special handling. Special handling may mean that designated persons are required to file their complaints in writing or that they not be interviewed as part of the intake investigation. This procedure may be used if IPR can demonstrate that a person:

Has a history of filing unverifiable, non-credible, or non-meritorious complaints and was warned in writing that the filing of similar complaints in the future may result in special handling, rapid disposition, or other specified action; or

Previously filed a demonstrably false complaint.

The discretion to specially handle complaints from named individuals must be exercised with great care and only with a supporting record.

IPR maintains a list of complainants who have been designated for special handling and those who are candidates for future designation. Investigators are welcome to add people to the candidate list when someone is repeatedly filing unverifiable, non-credible, or non-meritorious complaints. Investigators will staff this type of pattern with an IPR Director and determine whether the person should be put on notice. If it is decided to put a complainant on notice, the IPR Director will send a letter detailing the issue and the expected action. If the person files another complaint meeting the requirements of the notice, the IPR Director may place them on the Special Handling list. Again, at this time, the complainant will be provided with a letter clearly stating the history and the terms of their future engagement with IPR. The only exception to this notice requirement is when the person has filed a complaint that is “demonstrably false” in which case someone may be directly added to the list, but must still receive a Special Handling Letter.

Special handling conditions vary from person to person and should be tailored to meet the specific issue at hand. For example, if a person is repeatedly filing the same complaint, using investigator time for interviews regarding a matter that has already been investigated, the person may be restricted to filing complaints in writing only and be notified that IPR will not open or investigate cases unless the complaint is about a new or different incident. Specific restrictions should be noted in AIM in the person tab and the special handling letter will be saved both to AIM and in the Special Handling folder. A Special Handling Letter should explain clearly what the issue is and what options remain available to the complainant. The letter must also make very clear that we will accept and treat seriously any new complaint that presents a legitimate issue. There are very few community members who rise to the level of qualifying for Special Handling. We recognize that these community members are often incredibly vulnerable and it is important for them to have access to and trust in the complaint process.

Designating a complainant for special handling does not justify treating the complainant discourteously. Remain alert to the possibility a listed person may present a legitimate complaint deserving IPR’s careful analysis.  All complaints from listed persons shall be noted by creating a new complaint file or making a note in the one of their prior complaint files, depending on the particular conditions imposed.