Members of the public and many of the experts agree that Portland's system of civilian police review is ineffective and must be changed. Based on national research, the City Auditor's report, and months of community work, POPSG recommends the following:

The Board The Review Board will be comprised of a number of civilians who reflect the
diversity of the city
, with the combined powers now assigned to both City Council and the
Civilian Advisors to PIIAC. Board members will be limited to two one-year terms. No current
sworn officers, and no more than one former officer, will sit on the Board.
Responsibilities: Among the Board's responsiblities will be: conducting public hearings; policy and
training reviews; creating quarterly reports; overseeing the hiring and the actions
of investigators; and overseeing the offices of intake and mediation.


Training &
Policy Issues

The Review Board will have subpoena power. The Board, by majority vote, will
have the power to compel testimony and presentation of evidence. For police officers, giving
such testimony will be part of their regular duties.

The Board will hold public hearings on a regular basis (separate from individual
case hearings) to review training and policy issues and hear suggestions.

The Board will have the power to recommend discipline, as well as training and
policy changes, based on their findings.
Public disclosure of hearing outcomes, analysis
and recommendations will guarantee public confidence. The Chief of Police will respond to
the Board, reporting what action was taken, if any.

Investigators The Board will be supported by a number of non-police investigators who will
investigate all complaints.
The investigators will receive the full cooperation of the police. The
Board will conduct reviews regularly to ensure that investigations are conducted effectively and
without bias. Investigators shall not be former police officers. All records presented to the
Board at its hearings will be public. (The Police Internal Investigations Division (IID) may
conduct a simultaneous investigation.)

Intake Intake of complaints will be made through an independent office which records all
complaints submitted.
Such an office will be set up in each of the neighborhood coalition
offices. Complaint forms will be available in most city buildings. Complaints will be filed and
then directed to the central intake and investigative office. From time to time, the Board will
observe intake to ensure that all complaints are handled properly and without bias.

Mediation A system of mediation will be available as an alternative to full-scale
investigations and public hearings.
If all parties agree to undergo this process, a mediator
will facilitate reconciliation between officers and civilians (or officers and officers). When both
parties come to an agreement, the mediation is considered successful and no investigation will
follow. Although the parties will retain the right to sue, statements made in the course of
mediation will not be used as the basis of legal action. Criteria will be developed to define
satisfactory resolutions for the parties. Mediators can be drawn from the city's office of
mediation and their performance will be supervised by the Review Board.

Complainants will be assured results in 4 months (120 days), save for special
conditions such as criminal conduct pending.

This Board and its investigators would be cost-effective. Mediation and intake will be
handled at minimal cost by offices that already exist. Most of IID's budget can be redirected,
since their caseload will be greatly reduced. Use of mediation will minimize the cost of
investigations. With mediation and policy review in place, there will be fewer misconduct
lawsuits, which will mean less taxpayer money paid out to victims. Although there will be costs
associated with investigations and mediations, a nominal stipend for Board members is the
only direct cost associated with the Board itself.

[]Previous page []Next Page
Table of Contents
Proposal for an Effective Review Board page 1
Return to Copwatch home page