02-19-2017  10:55 am      •     

As the year 2005 fades away, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about what the Portland Police Bureau has accomplished this past year, as well as some initiatives that are scheduled for 2006.

As head of an agency dedicated to community policing, I believe the community became an even greater part of the equation in 2005. Over the last year, members of the community participated in newly formed advisory groups that included hiring police officers, as well as the Use of Force Performance Review Board, which reviews incidents and makes recommendations to the chief.

This is in addition to our numerous advisory groups that include the African American Advisory Group, The Chief's Forum, Sexual Minority Roundtable, Asian Law Enforcement Council of Oregon, Arab-Muslim Police Advisory Committee, the Hispanic Advisory Committee, the Developmental Disability Advisory Committee and the Crisis Intervention Team Advisory Committee.

These advisory boards meet regularly with me or the assistant chiefs to review the bureau's policies, training issues and other integral aspects of what an officer does and why he or she does it. As a result, officers were trained in cultural competency last year, and this year, they are receiving training on perspectives in profiling.

Last year, the community stepped up to help the bureau transform two critical policies involving the use of Tasers and the use of deadly force. Last year also marked the first time we threw open our precinct doors and invited the community to come to open houses — mini public safety fairs, designed to allow community members to talk to officers about any concerns or issues they have in their neighborhood. We also held our second Citizens Academy, where community members spent weeks learning about why police do what we do.

And finally, we took the time to look back in history and honor the Portland Police Bureau's first African American officer. Officer Charles Duke was awarded the bureau's Achievement Medal posthumously for his contributions as a role model and mentor for others who followed in the profession of law enforcement. This was a particularly proud moment for me, as I stood with Officer Duke's family and was able to learn more about a true pioneer who sacrificed much to serve the city of Portland.

So what will the coming year bring? The police bureau will once again be asking community members for their input on our policies. The bureau will revise its vehicle pursuit policy and add a foot pursuit policy. In fact, I have asked for an extensive review of all of the bureau's 193 policy directives. I want a committee of citizens and bureau members to compare us side by side to other law enforcement agencies in major cities. I want to look at national best practices and ensure that we have no gaps or hidden issues.

The police bureau will establish an Office of Professional Standards that will oversee our internal affairs process, but will also develop an early intervention system for its members. This new system will monitor employee performance to provide positive career support, identify problems early and support the bureau's goal to encourage personnel and improve accountability. This is really about analyzing ourselves before a crisis or incident emerges.

Finally, the bureau is applying to the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies to begin an accreditation process. This will ensure that all areas of the bureau — including policies and training — are meeting established standards. Following accreditation, members of the commission will continue to review our agency every few years to ensure that we continue with the established standards. This enormous project will involve a lot of assistance from community members.

Community members have told me that their priority is getting the precincts back to a 24-7 operation. I will work with Mayor Tom Potter to see if we can determine a fiscal option that will work.

As with any new year, I am sure there will be twists and turns that were not anticipated. I believe our work over the last two years has set us on a good path to cope with those challenges. I want to thank many of you who have supported the Portland Police Bureau directly or indirectly. If you aren't already, I want to invite you to join us, either by attending neighborhood meetings and our advisory groups or by providing critical feedback. We want to continue to re-think community policing through the city's community vision process.

It is my goal to continue to work toward institutionalizing the community policing philosophy within the bureau and to ensure that we are in step with community expectations. But in the end, it is the community that will decide.
The Portland Police Bureau is committed to reducing crime and the fear of crime and improving neighborhood livability. I will continue to urge our officers to use every community policing effort, including building relationships in the community in which they serve, to support this goal.

May the coming new year bring happiness and good health to you and your family.

Derrick Foxworth is Portland's chief of police.

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All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. 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Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. 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