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The City of Portland, Oregon

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

0335.00 Discipline Process

335.00, Discipline Process   

Refer:

  • Portland City Code 3.20.140 Police Review Board
  • City of Portland, Human Resources Administrative Rule 5.01, Discipline
  • DIR 330.00, Internal Affairs, Complaint Intake, and Processing
  • DIR 336.00, Police Review Board
  • DIR 338.00, Discipline Guide 

Definitions:

  • Case File:  Administrative package containing the originals or copies of the Internal Affairs (IA) investigation or other investigation materials, including all materials related to findings.   
  • Command Counseling:  A formal non-disciplinary corrective action that involves verbal counseling in response to a sustained finding for a minor policy violation.  Command counselling is conducted by the Responsibility Unit (RU) manager or a designee and is documented in a memorandum to IA. 
  • Corrective Action Recommendation Memorandum:  A form attached to an administrative investigation case file by the RU Manager recommending the corrective action or discipline.  The form indicates whether the RU Manager believes a Command Counseling, a Letter of Reprimand, or a Performance Review Board is appropriate.  The form also ensures the RU Manager considers the individual’s discipline history and uses the Discipline Guide in reaching their recommended discipline. 
  • Demotion:  Reversion to a lower rank or job classification.  
  • Discipline Guide: An advisory document used to provide direction to Responsibility Unit Managers, the Police Review Board (PRB), the Chief of Police, and the Commission in Charge, when determining appropriate discipline. 
  • Findings:  A conclusion as to whether a member’s conduct violated Bureau directives. 

- Sustained:  The preponderance of evidence proves a violation of policy or procedure.

- Not Sustained:  The evidence was insufficient to prove a violation of policy or procedure.

- Exonerated:  The preponderance of evidence proves the member’s conduct was lawful and within policy.

- Unfounded:  The preponderance of evidence proves the allegation was false or devoid of fact or there was not a credible basis for a possible violation of policy or procedure. 

  • Findings Cover Sheet:  A form attached to an administrative investigation case file by the RU Manager recommending the finding.  This form includes sections for the appropriate Assistant Chief, Professional Standards Division (PSD) Captain, and the Independent Police Review (IPR) Director to list whether they concur or controvert the findings, whether more investigation is warranted, whether the case would benefit from a PRB hearing, and/or suggest additional recommendations (e.g., training review, policy review, supervisory review). 
  • Letter of Reprimand:  A disciplinary letter placed in the member’s personnel file detailing a member’s conduct or performance that violated one or more Bureau directives but does not involve an economic sanction such as a suspension, demotion or termination.    
  • Pre-determination meeting:  A due-process meeting with the Chief of Police or designee to discuss the involved member’s proposed discipline prior to a final disciplinary decision.  This meeting is the member’s opportunity to discuss the case with the Chief or Assistant Chief, and present any mitigating factors for consideration. 
  • Preponderance of the Evidence:  The facts and circumstances indicate it is more likely than not that a violation of policy or procedure either occurred or did not occur.  
  • Suspension:  Removal from work status, without pay, for a specified period of time.  
  • Termination:  Discharge from Police Bureau employment.  

Policy:

1. The purpose of this directive is to provide guidance to members regarding the process for recommending and assigning corrective or disciplinary action when an allegation of a policy violation or misconduct against a member is sustained. 

2. In order to maintain public confidence in the ability of the Police Bureau to investigate and properly address legitimate complaints concerning employee conduct and performance, and to ensure internal accountability, a broad range of tools are available to set expectations, issue corrective action, and institute discipline.  The Bureau has a responsibility to impose corrective or disciplinary action warranted by a member’s violation of policy. 

3. The Bureau’s philosophy with respect to corrective action and discipline is the same philosophy that is applied to employees who work elsewhere in the City, which is that corrective and disciplinary action are tools available to assist supervisors in working with employees whose behavior or job performance does not meet the expectations associated with the position they hold.  Corrective action or discipline can be used to correct behavior, to deter a violation of policies or procedures, and to hold employees accountable for their behavior or performance.  Generally speaking, corrective action or discipline is used to put the employee on notice of unacceptable conduct or performance, and give the employee a reasonable opportunity to correct their behavior.   

4. Generally, discipline is progressive, beginning with an oral warning or Letter of Reprimand and proceeding to suspension, demotion, or termination.  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, creation of a hostile work environment, or workplace violence and may justify suspension or termination without the necessity of prior warnings or attempts at corrective action or discipline. 

5. 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.  It is not the purpose of this directive to require an automatic progression of disciplinary measures.  Rather, the circumstances of each situation are considered on a case-by-case basis.  The Discipline Guide serves to ensure that corrective action and discipline are applied in an impartial and consistent manner. 

6. Before the Bureau takes corrective action or disciplinary action, the Bureau or IPR will conduct a thorough investigation to assist it in determining whether the employee, in fact, engaged in misconduct or performance that is contrary to Bureau directives and policies. 

7. Members are subject to disciplinary action for cause or just cause.  Possible disciplinary actions are identified in Human Resources Administrative Rule 5.01, Discipline, the Discipline Guide, or the applicable collective bargaining agreement. 

8. Counseling, instruction, and training are not considered disciplinary action. 

Procedure:

1. Those responsible for making recommendations on findings and discipline shall refer to the Discipline Guide in accordance with Directive 338.00, Discipline Guide.

2. Development of Proposed Findings and Recommended Discipline.

2.1. RU Manager Responsibilities.

2.1.1. Obtain the member’s discipline history by contacting:

2.1.1.1. The discipline coordinator in PSD for administrative investigations of sworn members.

2.1.1.2. The CRB coordinator in PSD for collision review board (CRB) cases.

2.1.1.3. The BHR business partner in PPB’s personnel division for non-sworn members.

2.1.2. Review and consider the member’s work history including aggravating and mitigating factors as set forth in the Discipline Guide when recommending corrective or discipline action.

2.1.3. Make a discipline recommendation and document such on the Findings Cover Sheet and in the Corrective Action Recommendation Memorandum.

2.1.4. Submit the entire packet to IA, including the Findings Cover Sheet and the Corrective Action Recommendation Memorandum, within seven days of receipt of the case file.

2.1.5. RU Managers or designees are not permitted to take any corrective action or discipline prior to being informed by the IA Captain that the case has been closed. 

2.2. IA Captain Responsibilities.

2.2.1. Upon receipt of the RU Manager’s proposed findings, the IA Captain or their designee shall, by the end of the next business day, send a copy of the case file, including the proposed findings and recommended discipline, to the IPR Director and the supervising Assistant Chief for a seven-day concurrent review. 

2.2.2. The IA Captain shall review the proposed findings and recommended discipline within seven days of receipt.

2.2.2.1. The IA Captain may controvert the RU manager’s proposed findings and/or recommended discipline.  All controverts shall be documented in a memorandum that clearly articulates that the reviewer wishes to controvert and provides an adequate explanation for the writer’s basis for disagreeing with the proposed finding or recommended discipline. 

2.3. Supervising Assistant Chief Responsibilities.

2.3.1. The Supervising Assistant Chief shall review the proposed findings and recommended discipline and resubmit to IA within seven days of receipt.

2.3.1.1. The Assistant Chief may controvert the proposed findings and/or recommended discipline.  All controverts shall be documented in a memorandum that clearly articulates that the reviewer wishes to controvert and provides an adequate explanation for the writer’s basis for disagreeing with the proposed finding or recommended discipline. 

2.4. IPR Director Responsibilities.

2.4.1. The IPR Director will review the proposed findings and recommended discipline and resubmit to IA within seven days of receipt.

2.4.1.1. The IPR Director may controvert the proposed findings and/or recommended discipline.  All controverts shall be documented in a memorandum that clearly articulates that the reviewer wishes to controvert and provides an adequate explanation for the writer’s basis for disagreeing with the proposed finding or recommended discipline. 

2.5. Controverted Findings and Discipline.

2.5.1. If a proposed finding or recommended discipline of the RU Manager is controverted by the supervising Assistant Chief, the IPR Director, or the IA Captain, the case will be heard by the PRB in accordance with Directive 336.00, Police Review Board.  

3. Imposition of Corrective Action or Discipline.

3.1. Command Counseling or Letter of Reprimand.

3.1.1. The IA Captain shall refer all cases where proposed corrective action or discipline is less than suspension to the involved member’s RU Manager to implement the corrective action or discipline.

3.1.2. The IA Captain shall notify the RU Manager and the Discipline Coordinator when the case is closed and the Command Counseling or Letter of Reprimand can be issued.

3.1.3. The RU Manager, in consultation with the Discipline Coordinator, shall prepare the proposed corrective action or discipline and other documentation as appropriate.

3.1.4. The appropriate Assistant Chief shall review the RU Manager’s recommended action and upon approval return the documentation to the Discipline Coordinator.

3.1.5. The Discipline Coordinator shall receive the documentation and coordinate corrective action or discipline with the RU Manager.

3.1.6. Pursuant to city code, involved members may appeal the proposed findings to the Citizen Review Committee (CRC).

3.1.6.1. In such cases, the Chief shall not issue proposed discipline or make recommendations until the CRC has made a final decision, or until after the City Council has made a determination, if the CRC appeal process has resulted in referral of the case to the City Council.

3.1.7. If the proposed corrective action is Command Counseling:

3.1.7.1. The RU Manager shall meet with the member to review the incident and communicate their expectations moving forward.

3.1.7.2. The RU Manager shall outline the expectations in the meeting with the member and document as such in a memorandum.

3.1.7.3. The RU Manager shall forward the Command Counseling memorandum to the Discipline Coordinator.

3.1.7.4. The Command Counseling memorandum shall not include debriefings associated with not sustained findings.  Debriefings shall be documented separately in accordance with Directive 332.00, Administrative Investigations. 

3.1.8. If the proposed corrective action is a Letter of Reprimand:

3.1.8.1. The RU Manager shall meet with the member to review the incident and communicate their expectation moving forward.

3.1.8.2. The RU Manager shall serve the member with the letter of proposed discipline.

3.1.8.2.1. The member can request a pre-determination meeting with their supervising Assistant Chief.

3.1.8.2.1.1. Following the meeting, the Assistant Chief shall notify the Discipline Coordinator in writing of the final discipline to be imposed.

3.1.8.3. The Discipline Coordinator shall coordinate with the RU Manager the service of the final Letter of Reprimand.

3.1.9. The Discipline Coordinator shall forward a copy of the Command Counseling memorandum or the proposed and final Letters of Reprimand to the Personnel Division for inclusion in the member’s personnel file. 

3.2. Discipline of Suspension or Greater.

3.2.1. All cases in which recommended discipline is suspension or greater will be heard by the PRB.  PRB procedures are outlined in Directive 336.00, Police Review Board.

3.2.2. Pursuant to city code, involved members may appeal the PRB’s recommended findings to the CRC. 

3.2.2.1. If a member files a timely appeal with the CRC, the Chief shall not issue proposed discipline until the CRC has made a final decision or until after the City Council has made a determination, if the CRC appeal process has resulted in referral of the case to the City Council.

3.2.3. After the close of the CRC appeal window or after the completion of the CRC appeal process, if any, the Discipline Coordinator shall forward the PRB’s recommendation memorandum to the Chief.

3.2.4. The Chief, after consultation with the Police Commissioner, shall provide the Chief’s proposed findings to the Discipline Coordinator and to PSD.

3.2.5. The Discipline Coordinator shall provide the letter of proposed discipline to the RU Manager for delivery to the involved member.

3.2.6. Upon receipt of the letter of proposed discipline, the involved member may request a pre-determination meeting with the Chief.

3.2.6.1. The Chief shall notify the Discipline Coordinator in writing of the final discipline to be imposed following the meeting.

3.2.6.2. The Discipline Coordinator shall coordinate the service of the final letter of imposed discipline to the involved member with the RU Manager.

3.2.7. The Discipline Coordinator shall schedule the dates of the suspension or separation with the RU Manager and shall forward the dates to the Fiscal Division. 

History:

- Originating Directive Date: 10/30/14

- Last Revision Signed: 02/02/18

- Effective Date: 03/03/18

- Next Review Date: 09/03/18