I. Portland's Current System of Police Review
Portland's current civilian review system, the Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee (PIIAC), does not have enough power to be effective. PIIAC is limited to conducting reviews of completed police internal investigations. Citizens take their complaints of police misconduct to the police department. The Internal Investigations Division considers whether to investigate the complaint. If the complaint is not investigated, or the citizen finds the outcome of the investigation unsatisfactory, he or she may ask PIIAC to review the findings. Then PIIAC uses IID's information to make its judgment. There is no independent investigation of the misconduct complaint.
Nationally, review systems like Portland's are chronically under-empowered, under-staffed and under-funded. Heavy reliance upon documents provided by the police makes objective review of citizen complaints difficult. For example, IID's investigation sometimes leaves out potential witnesses who never come to PIIAC's attention because of the limitations of PIIAC's powers. In an investigation reviewed by PIIAC in April 1993, witnesses came to testify, but PIIAC did not consider their testimony because they were not part of the initial IID investigation.
In the eyes of the public (including those mistreated by police), these review systems appear to be
mere extentions of the police force. Further, many civilian review experts find these systems to be
ineffective. For one, the ACLU's
The public is calling for improved civilian
PIIAC has recently taken some steps to become more effective. The Citizen Advisors are now
1. Oregonian, April 28, 1992, p. A1. |
2. Ibid, p. A12.
3. Citizens Crime Commission: Public Safety 2000
"Information for meeting on
Aug. 25, 1992," p. 31.
4. City Club of Portland, Vol. 72, No. 33,
January 17, 1992.
5. Editorial, April 14, 1988.
6. Editorial, February 4, 1993.
7. Letter to Vera Katz, April, 1993.