Your City Hall: Police matters dominate City Council docket
WHAT IS HAPPENING? Police issues will occupy much of the City Council's time this week. First, on Tuesday, the council will hold a work session to consider national best practices for police contracts. Then on Wednesday, the council is scheduled to accept the Portland Police Bureau's 2018 annual report and adopt its community engagement plan for the current fiscal year.
WHY TALK ABOUT THE CONTRACT NOW? The city is preparing to negotiate a new contract with the Portland Police Association, the union that represents rank-and-file bureau employees. Ahead of that, the council will listen to a presentation by representatives of Campaign Zero on national best practices in police union contracts.
Campaign Zero is a 10-point police reform plan proposed by activists associated with Black Lives Matter that was launched on Aug. 21, 2015.
In announcing the work session, Mayor Ted Wheeler's Office said, "This will help ensure a meaningful negotiation process that results in a contract that serves the interest and welfare of the public and supports our officers."
WHAT ARE THE CAMPAIGN ZERO RECOMMENDATIONS? When it comes to police contracts, the plan calls for: removing barriers to misconduct investigations and civilian oversight; keeping officer disciplinary history accessible to police departments and to the public; and ensuring financial accountability for officers and police departments that kill or seriously injure civilians.
WHAT IS THE ANNUAL REPORT? A report on the activities, accomplishments and challenges for the bureau for 2018. The 29-page report covers everything from staffing levels to crime statistics to the activities of all divisions. In her introduction, Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said the primary challenge facing the bureau is the ongoing staffing shortage.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PLAN? The plan for improving the relationship between the bureau and the community, including activities required under the settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice intended to reduce the unnecessary use of force by officers, such as the appointment of the Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing.
ARE THERE ANY CONTROVERSIES? There are always controversies concerning the bureau. Police accountability activists already have questioned how much public testimony will be allowed on the engagement plan.
"It would be extremely ironic for the PPB to talk about its great efforts to engage with the community and then silence community response to its reports," Portland Copwatch said in an email to the council and chief on Sept. 26.
WHAT CAN I DO? The work session is scheduled from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 1221 S.W. Fourth Ave. Public testimony is not allowed, but you can attend in person, watch it on community TV, or on the city's website at www.portlandoregon.gov/28258.
The hearings on the report and plan are scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, in the Council Chambers. Public testimony is allowed, and you also can watch them on community TV and on the website.
Links to the report and plan are included in the online council agenda at www.portlandoregon.gov/auditor/26997.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.