This week, the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd began. I want to acknowledge that the trial may bring renewed pain and trauma for many, especially among Black people and people of color in our community. As I shared with you following Floyd’s death last May, I condemn the actions of Derek Chauvin and the actions of other officers for failing to intervene.
Floyd’s senseless death challenged all of us in public safety to examine the systemic racism, over-policing and implicit bias that influences the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. Over the past year, members of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office have deeply engaged with the community, met with community leaders and activists, attended and participated in marches and rallies, and listened to your experiences, constructive criticism and feedback. We heard you, and we acted. We assessed current policies, procedures, training and systems of accountability to ensure they are considered best practices and that they reinforce equity now and in the future.
In July 2020, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office hired its first-ever Equity & Inclusion Manager. With the introduction of the new Equity & Inclusion Manager, MCSO became an active member of Multnomah County’s Workforce Equity Strategic Plan (WESP).
In January 2021, MCSO released the organization’s two-year Strategic Plan, which identifies seven goals, each emphasizing the importance of equity as a guiding organizational value. The purpose of the strategic plan is to be a road map for our organization as we work to uphold our values. The seven goals include, by the end of 2022:
A Strategic Plan Steering Committee will monitor the plan’s implementation across the organization to hold ourselves accountable to the goals we’ve set. In addition to the goals outlined in the Strategic Plan, we have made significant changes to the way we do business at the sheriff’s office by:
We are also advocating for changes to the broader criminal justice system by:
I want to assure you the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office is proactively taking steps to continue to improve and build and maintain your trust, and be an agency that reflects the values of the community we serve. We encourage you to continue shaping our agency by providing feedback on our policy directives or by submitting a comment to [email protected].
As events unfold in Minneapolis, there may be demonstrations or protests, here, and across the country. We strongly support the right to demonstrate and for people to use their individual and collective voices to express grief, joy or outrage. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, we are calling for any demonstrations to remain peaceful. Violence and property destruction are unacceptable, and they put everyone’s safety at risk.
As Sheriff, I am committed to fighting racism and hate. Let’s work together to build a community that is welcoming and safe for everyone, because Black lives matter in Multnomah County.