Police Oversight Advocacy Position

LWVPDX Board adopts new position on Portland Police Bureau Oversight

A Call for Change to The Culture of The Portland Police Bureau

Portland Police Headquarters – Photo by Aaron Hockley, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Changing the culture of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) must be a key goal of bureau leadership, according to the new LWVPDX advocacy position. After conducting a year-long study of Portland police oversight and accountability, the League’s membership concluded that, “PPB must end practices that systematically place police in opposition to or in domination of the public, or that treat community members as enemies.”

The LWVPDX position statement, “Portland Police Bureau: Oversight and Accountability,” begins by calling on the PPB to meet the following goals:

    • Accountability for police officers who violate community standards and PPB policies and directives.
    • Reduction in the use of force.
    • Fair, equitable, and respectful treatment of community members.
    • Reduction of bias-based policing with a goal of eliminating it.

The new position is based on the results of a careful nonpartisan study of the PPB.

An all-volunteer 22-member study committee began its work shortly before George Floyd was killed. Committee members reviewed 55 documents on PPB history and policies.  They also interviewed 22 key stakeholders, including police leadership, city council members, state legislators and community advocates. See more about the resulting  study report on this website here.

MEmber discussion and Consensus were Key to writing the position statement

The study then went to the LWVPDX membership for review. Portland League members participated in discussion groups, answering questions about the issues the study covered.  A “consensus committee” wrote the new advocacy position using the points upon which members reached consensus during their discussions.

The new position statement on PPB Oversight and Accountability calls for reduction in use of force through de-escalation and for alternatives to armed police, such as using unarmed, appropriately trained civilian employees to respond to certain calls.  It also calls for improved transparency in the scope and timeliness of releasing police records, as well as for strengthening civilian oversight and community involvement. It supports giving authority to oversight groups to conduct independent investigations of police misconduct and to recommend discipline.