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Monday, February 13, 2012

Bare-Bones Report Released on Police Bureau's Work with JTTF

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Mayor Sam Adams' office this afternoon delivered on a promise to release an early version of the city's report on the police bureau's first several months of participation in a federal anti-terrorism task force it dropped out of several years before.

That came after a request from Portland Copwatch's Dan Handelman, the guy who sparked the push that eventually led Portland to drop out of the Joint Terrorism Task Force in 2005. But as to what the report actually says, a far more important point? It appears another Dan—Saltzman, the biggest JTTF backer on the council—got a lot of what he wanted. Which is a lot of not much.

The report, laid out in two parts by Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese, is a bare-bones accounting of the city's work, with few specifics other than the number of officers who've been assigned to work on terrorism cases as needed: two, from the bureau's criminal intelligence unit. The report doesn't mention how many hours the two officers worked, nor does it detail when in the investigations officers were asked to join in. (Weirdly, it doesn't even mention names of easily identifiable people, like the bureau's assistant chief of investigations, Eric Hendricks.)

"I don't know what to think of it. It's very vague," says Handelman, who read an open letter to city council last month reiterating a bunch of requests the ACLU made last April. "They sort of answered the points raised for by the ACLU but a lot of the points are vague and I think unnecessarily cautious. The good news is they talked about security clearance, and they said the city attorney didn't have to sign a non-disclosure form. But it feels as if they could give more information without jeopardizing the investigations they're working on."

Jeopardizing investigations was Reese's main reason for not providing more detail. The report does say, however, that Reese and Hendricks and the CIU lieutenant all retained oversight of the officers and that a deputy city attorney (David Woboril, I presume) vouched that Oregon's stricter-than-the-feds' civil rights laws were not violated.

"As a result of this oversight," Reese writes, "I can attest that officers have not engaged in any violations of Oregon law nor has any officer reported any potential or actual violations of Oregon law to me, the AC of Investigations, or the CIU Lieutenant."

The draft report is over on the mayor's web site. Adams' staff will be collecting comments and complaints before a hearing on the final version of the report February 29.

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