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Oregon Police Chiefs Endorse Legislation to End Profiling

Monday, April 20, 2015

 

Today, the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police (OACP) announced their support for legislation that would help put an end to profiling in Oregon by clearly defining the problem in statute, collecting better data, and providing a path for reporting profiling complaints. The over 200 OACP members in support of the legislation include not only Chiefs, but also police commanders, supervisors, and support staff from all over Oregon.

“First of all, I would like to thank the legislative sponsors and proponents of HB 2002 for engaging us in an important conversation regarding bias policing and the provisions of this measure,” said Kevin Campbell, Executive Director of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police. “We worked collaboratively with the Center for Intercultural Organizing and other proponents to insure that Oregonians from all perspectives and backgrounds have a place to take their bias policing complaints if they don’t feel comfortable complaining directly to their local police agency. Bias policing is not professional policing and the members of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police are committed to best practice standards in hiring, policies and training designed to insure that our police officers continue to have the full confidence of the communities they serve. Public confidence in the legitimacy of policing and in the work our police officers perform each and every day is absolutely critical to our effectiveness.”

Today, the House Committee on Judiciary took action to combine the three End Profiling bills (HB 2001, HB 2002 and HB 2003) into a single bill and move the legislation forward with bipartisan support. The committee also approved an amendment that would create the Law Enforcement Profiling Work Group, a new group tasked with evaluating how best to implement the new policies across the state. The amendment requires data collection and sets up a system for people to report complaints and for those complaints to be reported back to local jurisdictions.

“Oregon’s law enforcement leaders recognize that to improve public safety and end discriminatory profiling practices, they must work hand-in-hand with the communities they serve,” said Kayse Jama, Executive Director of the Center for Intercultural Organizing. “This endorsement shows that our law enforcement leaders are ready to step up, identify problems of profiling, and take action to make our communities safer.

"The scariest thing to me is that so many people don't believe that racial profiling exists in Oregon," said Ricardo Lujan, Board Member for Oregon Action. "Profiling of all kinds damages the relationship between the law enforcement and our communities. By collecting data and providing accountability, this bill will make our neighborhoods and families safer."

The work group will be tasked with proposing a process to identify patterns or practices of profiling, identifying methods to address and correct these practices and biased policies, and preparing a report identifying any additional statutory changes that are needed to achieve these goals.

 

Related Slideshow: What Portland Can Learn from Ferguson

Recent developments in Ferguson, Mo., where a white police officer was not indicted for shooting an unarmed black teen, have brought to light issues that provide a case in point for Portland, according to leaders in the city’s African American community. 

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Charles McGee

President, Black Parent Initiative 

Lesson #1: Address Systemic Racism 

"Ferguson can happen anywhere. Right in Gresham, right in Portland, Oregon,” said Charles McGee, President and CEO of the Black Parent Initiative. 

“We still have glaring inequities in Portland and need to mobilize as a community,” said McGee. 

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David Walker 

Writer, Filmmaker 

Lesson #1: Address Systemic Racism 

Walker argues the overarching issue is that law enforcement and officials in Ferguson, as in Portland, are unaware of the biases already ingrained in society. 

“When you’re blinded by ignorance and racism, that’s a huge problem. Some people spend their lives thinking nothing is wrong,” Walker said. 

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Lew Frederick 

Representative, House District 43

Lesson #2: The Importance of Voting

Frederick points to voting as a way for Ferguson, and Portland, to move forward from issues of race inequality. 

“It will be a matter for people to get out to vote,” Frederick said.

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Cameron Whitten

President, Know Your City 

Lesson #3: Admit the Police System is Broken

Cameron Whitten, a former mayoral candidate and president of Know Your City, said the police system is broken, and has been for a long time. But the question of how to move forward remains. 

“Be able to fully address what’s broken and how to fix that,” said Whitten. “Institutionally, Jim Crow has been around in policing, and generations have been trying to undo that,” he said. 

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Promise King

Executive Director of the Oregon League of Minority Voters

Lesson #4: Protests Should be Strategic 

King said discrimination becomes “normalized” in society’s systems and institutions, and that dismantling inequality demands examining those systems. 

Protests, he said, are most effective when they call for people to direct their efforts toward changing those systems of injustice. 

 
 

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