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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Conference Call Tonight to Give Feds Advice on Fixing the Portland Police Bureau

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Oct 3, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Tonight and tomorrow night, from 6 to 8 pm, the federal Department of Justice is hosting a pair of conference calls meant to solicit community advice on the feds' recent investigation into Portland cops' use of excessive force against people with mental illness.

The city and the feds have staked out a preliminary settlement—agreeing to broad changes in the police bureau's training and Taser policies, among other things—with a final, court-approved deal expected to be completed by October 12. As part of that process, fine-tuning other tough topics like police oversight, the feds are asking for more help.

The calls, according to the US Attorney's office, will work like this:

To participate, dial the following toll-free number: 1-800-369-1772, and when prompted by the operator, provide your name and the passcode "Portland."... Participants may call-in for either or both days at any time during the scheduled hours of 6 to 8 pm. ... Participants in the call may also request to provide live comments and questions during a moderated discussion.

Hit the jump to see a list of what, exactly, the feds are looking to hear about.

• Use of force policies that will provide officers necessary guidance when encountering someone with mental illness or perceived to have mental illness, particularly regarding use of ECWs (i.e., Tasers), and practices for de-escalating encounters arising from non-criminally related well-being checks and arrests for low-level offenses;

• Policies to increase PPB's capacity for crisis intervention by utilizing specially trained officers and civilians;

• Practices to enhance PPB's early intervention system to identify gaps in policy, training, and supervision;

• Ways to expedite investigations of complaints of misconduct while preserving the thoroughness and quality of investigations and community participation; and

• Creation of a public body to ensure increased community oversight of reforms.

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