Rep. Susan McLain to hold community conversation on police reform
Washington County residents hoping for police reform will have the chance to sit down with elected officials and law enforcement at an upcoming digital event.
"Re-imagining Public Safety in Washington County" is being hosted by Forest Grove-area state Rep. Susan McLain from 10 to 11:30 a.m., Saturday, July 11 on Zoom.
The town hall-style discussion comes as calls for police reform have reached unprecedented levels across the country following recent killings of Black people by police, including the killing of George Floyd on May 25.
Since then, protests against police brutality have persisted across the country in several Washington County communities.
McLain said she plans to use the event to hear from constituents about their experiences with police, concerns regarding police policies and practices and ideas for reform.
"How I'm going to use it is to become informed, how I'm going to use it is to listen," McLain said.
McLain is returning from the Oregon Legislature's recent special session in which lawmakers passed six police accountability measures.
McLain said she wants to hear people's reactions to the measures and possible future steps.
"Some people thought they went too far, some people thought they didn't go far enough, some people thought they created a foundation," she said.
McLain said efforts to boost police accountability will be an ongoing focus.
"There needs to be a good transparent and accountability system that is in place," she said. "Oregon is no different than anyplace else. We also have places where we haven't done as well. We want people to be respected, we want them to be safe and we do not want them to be faced with life-threatening experiences."
Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett, Washington County Board of Commissioners candidate Nafisa Fai and former Forest Grove Police Chief Janie Schutz will participate in the conversation. Schutz recently started a new position as relationship manager at the Center for Policing Equity, a nonprofit based at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
McLain said the format of the event will likely depend on the attendants, but she envisions it being an open discussion between policing experts, lawmakers and the public about opportunities for improving policing at the state and local levels.
She said she expects topics such as defunding police and shifting funds away from police to fund more social services to be discussed at the event.
"There are people at the state level, the city level (and) the county level who are all thinking about this as we get into a conversation that has been a No. 1 interest in the last 45 days," McLain said.
She hopes the event draws in people with diverse backgrounds, including young people who have been at the center of recent community organizing and calls for police reform.
People can register for the event here. A Zoom link to the digital event will be available upon registration.
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