Portland voters approve creating new civilian oversight board for police
The new board will investigate all city officer misconduct complaints and impose discipline in cases where infractions were found
By Everton Bailey Jr.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday to create a new police oversight board touted as having greater powers to hold officers accountable to the public.
Measure 26-217, which will create the framework for the new, civilian-run police oversight board that would investigate all city officer misconduct complaints and impose discipline in cases where infractions were found, appears to have passed 82% to 18%, according to partial returns as of 8:05 p.m. Tuesday.
The new police oversight board is planned to replace the Independent Police Review, which along with the Police Bureau’s Internal Affairs Unit, investigates officer misconduct complaints. The existing police oversight board has drawn criticism because it can’t investigate shootings involving officers or cases in which people die in police custody, can’t make public its findings and has no say in the discipline of officers found to have committed infractions.
The measure will also require the board funding to be at least 5% of the Police Bureau’s budget, about $11.5 million this year. The Independent Police Review has a budget of nearly $3 million.
Opponents have questioned the legality of the new police oversight board. They have also said the proposal was rushed to the November ballot. And they say barriers such as state law, city code and the current police union contract will prevent any oversight system from being more effective than the one currently in place.
(c)2020 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)