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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

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Index: Title; Citizen Complaints; Complaint, Internal Affairs; Investigation

Refer: ORS 810.410 Arrest and Citation

City Code PSF-5.19 3b (5)

City Code PSF 5.20

Directive 331.00, Service Improvement Opportunities

Directive 332.00, Administrative Investigations

Directive 333.00, Criminal Investigations

POLICY (330.00)

The Portland Police Bureau and the Portland City Auditor’s Independent Police Review Division (IPR) will work in partnership to address complaints of misconduct against members of the Portland Police Bureau. Jointly, the Bureau and IPR will ensure that: 

1. Behaviors or trends that erode community trust and confidence are identified and addressed. 

2. Individual and organizational accountability for police conduct is promoted. 

3. Policy and training issues that will strengthen our police and community relationship and quality of service are identified.

Directive Specific Definitions (330.00)

Declination: Internal Affairs (IA) may decline to investigate some or all of the allegations in a complaint as subsequently outlined in this directive. IA may refer the information in a declined complaint to another Bureau official (e.g., Chief of Police Office, IA manager or precinct commander) or other appropriate agency for whatever policy, personnel, training, or other actions the Bureau or IPR deems appropriate. 

Administrative Investigation: A complete investigation conducted by, or at the direction of, Internal Affairs that is submitted to the member’s RU manager for findings. 

Mediation: A voluntary non-disciplinary, confidential process where a neutral professionally trained mediator helps citizens and officers speak directly with each other in an effort to resolve complaints. 

Service Improvement Opportunity: A formal non-disciplinary process where a supervisor evaluates and debriefs a complaint that alleges a minor rule violation or raises a quality of service issue.

Role of the Independent Police Review Division (IPR) (330.00) 

IPR is responsible for receiving and numbering citizen complaints regarding allegations of misconduct against members of the Bureau, monitoring Internal Affairs (IA) investigations of citizen complaints, coordinating appeals of Bureau findings of citizen complaints, and recommending changes in police practice and policy. IPR may conduct its own investigation into allegations of police misconduct at the discretion of the IPR Director.

Receiving Complaints and the Intake Process (330.00) 

Community members may contact IPR directly to initiate complaints against Bureau members. Members receiving citizen complaints should attempt to resolve complaints about minor rule violations or quality of service at the time they are made; otherwise the complainant will be referred to IPR. If the complainant requests that the member receive the complaint instead of IPR, members shall accept and document the information from any person, including other members, juveniles, third parties, and anonymous sources. The member will forward the information, through channels, to IA (to be forwarded to IPR). If it is impractical for the member to accept complaint information when requested, the member shall refer the citizen to a supervisor. 

Members who observe misconduct will document and transmit their observations to IA through their RU manager. This information will be evaluated as an internal Bureau-initiated complaint. Members may communicate directly with IA investigators regarding alleged misconduct for which they have knowledge.  Members may also report misconduct directly to IPR.  

Once a complaint is received by IA, the authority and responsibility for processing, investigating, or referring the complaint is delegated by the Chief of Police to the IA manager. When allegations of misconduct require immediate attention, supervisors will initiate the necessary investigation and notify the Branch chief through the chain of command.

Documentation (330.00) 

The following information, if available, will be included in the documentation of a complaint: 

1. Complainants’ and witnesses’ names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth. 

2. Date, time, and place of alleged misconduct. 

3. Identification of the member(s) involved. 

4. Nature of the complaint. 

5. Any action taken in an attempt to resolve the complaint.

Complaint Resolution and Assignment (330.00) 

The IA manager shall assign each complaint the most effective resolution strategy possible. The IA manager will notify IPR of the resolution strategy for each complaint. If IPR disagrees with a resolution strategy, IPR will promptly notify the IA manager. The IPR director and the IA manager will confer as to whether an independent IPR investigation should be conducted.  The IA manager may consider the complaint, the IPR intake investigation, police reports, dispatch records, and similar documentation of the incident. The IA manager shall consider the following criteria in determining how a complaint will be handled: 

1. If there could be a violation of criminal law. 

2. The seriousness of the alleged misconduct. 

3. Where the accused member is currently assigned. 

4. If there could be a conflict of interest. 

5. If there is a pattern of violations. 

6. Input provided by the member’s RU commander. 

7. The involved RU’s ability to conduct an investigation. 

Internal Affairs complaints will be handled through one of the following means: 

1. Administrative Investigation.

2. Additional Intake Investigation. 

3. Service Improvement Opportunity. 

4. Mediation. 

5. Declination

6.   Declination with informational referral to RU.


Administrative Investigation

A case may be assigned for administrative investigation when there is a prima facie allegation of misconduct that violates one or more Bureau directives and, if sustained, is likely to result in disciplinary action.  Generally, IA investigators will conduct IA investigations; however the IA manager, when appropriate, may assign complaints to be investigated or resolved at the RU level. The IA or RU investigator assigned to investigate a complaint will follow the procedures described in Directive 332.00, Administrative Investigations.  

In some cases, IPR may choose to conduct its own investigation or participate in the IA investigation. IPR will be notified of all findings for citizen complaints and will have primary responsibility to communicate with involved community members. IPR will notify involved community members and IA will notify involved Bureau members of complaint outcomes.  

Additional Intake Investigation

If the IA Manager finds that more information is needed to make a case assignment decision, he/she may assign the case for a preliminary investigation to gather enough information to make an informed decision about how to proceed.  The IA manager may request additional information from witnesses or other information sources to clarify limited factual issues. Additional intake investigations generally will not involve interviews of accused members.  An additional intake investigation is not a substitute for a full investigation and does not result in findings.

Service Improvement Opportunity

Allegations of minor work rule violations or quality of service issues may be handled as Service Improvement Opportunities (SIOs).  SIOs will be processed as prescribed in Directive 331.00, Service Improvement Opportunities.  


If the IPR director and the IA manager conclude that it will meet the needs of the Police Bureau and the community, mediation will be offered to the involved officer through his/her RU manager. This option is contingent upon the mutual agreement of everyone involved. The IA manager, the accused member’s RU manager, or the accused member may decline IPR’s recommendation to mediate a complaint. Qualified mediators will be managed and assigned through IPR. Cases in which mediation is done will not result in findings.


The IA manager may decline to investigate the allegations in a complaint and take no further action (or refer the complaint to the appropriate RU manager for an informal debriefing) under the circumstances listed in PSF 5.20.  These are: 

1. No Misconduct: The employee’s conduct, as alleged by the complainant, does not violate Bureau policy. 

2. Minor or De Minimus Rules Violation: The employee’s conduct, as alleged by the complainant, constitutes a minor technical violation that if sustained would not result in discipline and is too minor or too vague to justify a service complaint. 

3. No Jurisdiction: The complaint is against a non-employee, a former employee, or an employee of another department or other agency; or the employee resigns, retires, or will no longer be employed by the Bureau by the time an investigation and disciplinary process could be completed.  

4. Judicial or administrative review: The allegations have been or will be subject to effective judicial or administrative review. A pending tort claim or lawsuit generally shall not be a sufficient basis for declining to investigate a complaint. 

5. Unidentifiable employee: A reasonable investigative effort would not be able to identify the employee who is the subject of the complaint. 

6. Previously investigated or adjudicated: The alleged conduct was previously investigated and/or adjudicated by the Bureau and that the current complaint does not provide substantial new evidence. 

7. Lacks Investigative Merit: 

A. There is no reasonable possibility that an investigation either will sustain the allegation; or 

B. The complaint is not credible or reliable.  The IA manager must identify specific and articulable reasons why this is.  

8. Insufficient Resources: Refer to City Code 5.19 3(b). If the IA manager finds that IA’s workload significantly exceeds available resources and will continue to exceed for the foreseeable future, available resources may be focused on more serious or more provable complaints and less serious or less provable complaints may be declined. IA will notify the IPR Director if IA’s workload exceeds IA’s resources to such an extent that IA must significantly raise its threshold for investigating complaints.

Complaints Regarding Former Members (330.00)

Notwithstanding section 3 above, IA may decide to investigate a complaint involving a former member based on the nature and seriousness of the allegations, or upon request from IPR.  For example, if serious misconduct has been alleged, the IA manager may order an investigation.  The case will proceed according to Directive 332.00, Administrative Investigations, except that former members cannot be ordered to make a statement.  

At the conclusion of the investigation and any subsequent findings process, IA will place the findings in the employee’s personnel or IA file.  Discipline may be imposed if the employee returns to service.  

Criminal Complaints Regarding Members (330.00) 

Allegations of member misconduct, which include a possible criminal law violation, will be initially treated as a criminal case rather than an IA investigation. Criminal cases involving members will be processed according to DIR 333.00, Criminal Investigations of Police Bureau Employees.

Unlawful Employment Practices, Discrimination Complaints, EEO (330.00) 

Complaints by members alleging unlawful employment practices will be processed according to DIR 344.00 Prohibited Discrimination and HR Administrative Rule 2.02.

Personnel Performance Deficiencies (330.00) 

Complaints regarding job performance problems or minor work rule violations may be processed according to the procedures in DIR 334.00 Performance Deficiencies.

Temporary Personnel Action (330.00) 

Temporary personnel action may be taken when alleged misconduct is so serious in nature that such action is necessary to protect the public, the member, or the Bureau, or when it is reasonable to question the member’s mental, physical, or emotional ability to properly and safely conduct normal duties and responsibilities.  Temporary personnel action may include immediate relief from duty or administrative transfer.  Temporary personnel actions are predetermination actions, and are not considered discipline.  As part of a temporary personnel action, the Chief of Police may order the member to turn in his/her Bureau identification, Bureau-issued badge, hat badge, electronic security key, and other bureau-issued equipment (radios, weapons, etc.). 

A member may be immediately relieved from duty by a supervisor or relief commander after consulting with the RU manager. The Personnel manager will be notified as soon as possible. Relief from duty must be approved by the Chief of Police before the start of the member’s next shift. Members relieved of duty in a temporary personnel action will be relieved with pay. Factors considered in taking a temporary personnel action include, but are not limited to: 

1. The likelihood of criminal charges against the member. 

2. The member’s ability to effectively continue performance of duty during an investigation. 

3. The seriousness of misconduct alleged against the member. 

4. Potential for or actually bringing extreme discredit to the Bureau.

A member may be administratively transferred by the Chief of Police or designee.  


The IA manager will ensure that the assignment, investigation, and documentation of complaints received are done in accordance with this directive. Each RU manager will ensure that complaints received by his/her RU are processed in a timely manner.  IA is responsible for the review and maintenance of all Internal Affairs records. Police Liability Management may review closed IA cases for compliance with policy, rules, and procedures related to the review of claims against the Bureau.