Bill Sinnott, the coordinator of the police bureau's controversial Service Coordination Team, says he wants to go to the legislature to be able to put a civil commitment hold on street drunks.
"There are people sitting out here in doorways, drinking, and defecating in their pants," he says. "But we can't put a civil hold on them because it doesn't meet the standard of diminished responsibility."
"We've been talking about going to the legislature to try to maybe tweak that, a little bit, so that we can get a hold on some of these folks before they hit rock bottom."
Civil commitment is controversial in Portland, not least because the cops have had some awkward contacts with mentally ill people here. You can read about the implications for people undergoing civil commitment from my day in civil commitment court, here.
Laurie Abraham from the District Attorney's office is suggesting Oregon should adopt Washington's stricter standard of commitment, which apparently has more leeway for the cops to pick up people who "just look a little crazy." In Oregon, the standard is very tight. People have to be a danger to themselves or others.
"I know that the PBA has a lobbyist, maybe there are some other groups that can partner with the city's lobbyist, Mark Landauer, and put a push on this rather than wait two more years," she says.
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