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COMMENTS ON CRITICAL INCIDENT ALTERED DUTY DIRECTIVE MAY 2020

Below are Portland Copwatch's comments on the Critical Incident Altered
Duty Directive posted for review in May 2020
< http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/59757>.
This Directive was previously posted in February 2019, and Portland Copwatch (PCW) sent in comments then about clarifying the policy, all of which were not
incorporated, while in one case, the Bureau did the opposite of what we suggested.
COMMENTS ON CRITICAL INCIDENT ALTERED DUTY DIRECTIVE MAY 2020

To Chief Resch, Capt. Parman, Lieutenant Morgan, PPB Policy Analysts,
Compliance Officer/Community Liaison Team, Community Oversight Advisory
Board staff, US Dept. of Justice, Citizen Review Committee and the
Portland Police Bureau:


We would still like to see the policies include letters to identify
section headings (Definitions, Policy, Procedure) so that there are not
multiple sections with the same numbers, and to enumerate the
Definitions. Our comments below refer to the Procedure Section unless
otherwise noted.

---------

DIRECTIVE 416.00 CRITICAL INCIDENT ALTERED DUTY

The main issue we have raised repeatedly about this Directive is the
poor explanation for what constitutes a "Critical Incident."

--The Definitions section says a Critical Incident is "an atypically
traumatic event that may cause physical, emotional and/or psychological
injury or harm." It does not indicate whether that refers to harm done
to a community member or the involved/witness officers. We noted that a
community member harmed in such an incident might be a crime victim,
suspect, or recipient of police violence.

--Policy Section 1 used to indicate that a Critical Incident was one
"such as those involving the use of deadly force (or force resulting in
serious injury." However, contrary to PCW's suggestion, the Bureau went
ahead with its proposal to cut that clause from the Directive.

--Policy Section 2 refers to officers who are involved in or witness
deadly force, with the involved officers being placed on leave, leading
to the need for this Directive (also repeated in Procedure Section 1.1).
The Policy adds that the Chief will determine whether officers involved
in force resulting in serious injury will also be placed on leave.
Witness officers, per Section 3.1, may be placed on leave as well.

We repeat here that the Bureau needs to let the community know what
Critical or "Traumatic" Incidents are since they can trigger alerts in
the Employee Information System (EIS). In our analysis of the Compliance
Officer/Community Liaison (COCL)'s October 2018 report (as noted
previously), we found: "While only 19% of cops using too much force get
interventions, a whopping 73% of those with traumatic incidents get such
counseling." It is notable that the details on what kinds of EIS
triggers led to supervisory interventions were not included in the
COCL's Q1 2020 report released in April.

The lack of a clear definition for "critical incident," we noted, could
negatively affect officers, since they can be placed on Administrative
Leave by discretion of the Chief. Procedure Section 4 states that for
other types of critical incidents, the Chief (or designee) "may" also
put officers on unrequested leaves of absence. Our group is still
supportive of taking such officers off the force, but a clear definition
will limit legal challenges.

We continue to question whether Section 2.2 should include consideration
about the psychological effect of an officer revisiting the scene of a
shooting on their first day back on duty "if desired," since the Bureau
emphasizes counseling officers for stress. Such a visit is likely to
provoke such stress. The PPB has defended the existing language because
following through on such a visit is optional, but PCW would like to see
more attention paid to the downside of doing so. If the reason for such
a visit is to participate in an investigatory walk-through, the
Directive should mention that.

Policy Section 1 and Procedure Section 6.4 invoke the concept of the
impact of deadly force incidents on the community. PCW asks once again
for the Bureau to add the impact on the community, family, friends and
coworkers to the policy and to the officers' counseling.

CONCLUSION

PCW appreciates the Bureau continuing to ask for community comments on
its policies. However, as we have said before, "the common-sense ideas
we are putting forward which would lead to a more trustworthy and
community-minded police force should not be brushed aside." We continue
to encourage the PPB to make a presentation to the Portland Committee on
Community Engaged Policing (PCCEP) about key policies being reviewed,
allowing for a public discussion rather than the one that happens with
the Directives review team behind closed doors. Regarding the PCCEP, we
repeat here that they, and other advisory bodies looking at police
issues, do not meet often enough to respond to the 15-day deadlines for
the "First Universal Review" and are unlikely to be able to meet and
approve comments even in the 30-day "Second Universal Review" periods.
We urge the Bureau to extend the review deadlines.

Thank you for your time

--dan handelman and other members of
--Portland Copwatch

homepage: homepage: http://www.portlandcopwatch.org