PORTLAND, Ore. — A team of academics hired by Portland to oversee the city’s settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on police reforms has found the Police Bureau in “substantial compliance” with every paragraph of the agreement.
According to Dennis Rosenbaum and his team, their rating of “substantial compliance” means the city and police have adopted systems of review and organizational changes to address problem trends, with new approaches to auditing and training, the Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
A judge approved the settlement in 2014, after a federal investigation found police engaged in excessive force against people with mental illness and fired multiple cycles of Taser gun shocks unnecessarily.
U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon will make the final ruling when all parties to the case return to his court Feb. 25. The court retains oversight until a judge finds that the city has substantially complied with the agreement for one year. In June, Simon said he wanted assurances that the city’s new community group charged with overseeing police reforms is effective.
Rosenbaum found that the Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing “is functioning as a legitimate body for community engagement,” despite its sparse attendance. The group has spent much of its first months adopting bylaws and setting up subcommittees, filling vacancies from resignations and offering recommendations for a police bureau plan on how police can better connect with the public it serves.
It has created subcommittees on mental illness, race and ethnicity, youth and the settlement agreement. Last week, the city council adopted a police “Community Engagement Plan,” that Chief Danielle Outlaw and committee co-chairwoman Lakayana Drury presented to the council, a requirement of the settlement.