[pjw] URGENT ACTION: Ask City Council to delay vote on Police contract

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Oct 11 10:45:25 EDT 2016

Supporters of Peace and Justice Works

Our affinity group Portland Copwatch has been engaged in an attempt to 
stop the City from approving a contract for the Portland Police 
Association that increases officer pay but doesn't improve our oversight 
systems. The first discussion on this item was two weeks ago on September 
28, and unless we can convince Council to postpone the vote, the final 
vote will take place tomorrow, Wed. October 12. Apologies for the last 
minute action alert, it wasn't until the Iraq Affinity Group meeting last 
night that I realized we hadn't reached out to the full PJW list.

The below letter from Portland Copwatch to Council* outlines the major 
objections. The Mayor is pitching this as a way (the only way) to draw 
more recruits to Portland to get more police on the streets. If you want 
to send something short and sweet, just write:
  "Adding more police doesn't negate the need for police accountability,
  let's wait for a contract that can do both."

Key to this discussion is that Ted Wheeler will be taking over as Mayor in 
January 2017, the contract doesn't expire right now until June 2017, and 
Wheeler should be able to negotiate the contract that guides police policy 
over his term of office. The contract that is pending will expire in June 
2020, a month after the next Mayoral primary.

Other groups objecting to the contract's fast-track include the AMA 
Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, the ACLU, Sisters Of The Road, 
the National Lawyers Guild, Don't Shoot Portland, the NAACP, the League of 
Women Voters, and the Sierra Club.

Council email addresses are also in the letter below. Let us know if you 
are able to send an email to Council today and again sorry for the short 

The Mayor has gone to extreme lengths to shut out in-person testimony at 
Council. You can read a bit more about what's been going on here:

If you're in a neighborhood association, please mention that too since the 
Mayor has been using his staff to strong-arm those groups to support the 

The City Auditor, who is in charge of the oversight system, sent her own 
memo to the Mayor last Tuesday, outlining several of our same concerns:


dan handelman
peace and justice works/portland copwatch

*-excerpted for clarity

  ---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 2016 16:06:13
From: Portland Copwatch <copwatch at portlandcopwatch.org>
To: Mayor Charlie Hales <mayorhales at portlandoregon.gov>
Cc: Portland City Council -- Commissioner Amanda Fritz
     <amanda at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Dan Saltzman <dan at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Nick Fish <Nick at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Commissioner Steve Novick <novick at portlandoregon.gov>,
     Mayor Charlie Hales <mayorhales at portlandoregon.gov>,

Mayor Hales

We request that the Council collectively propose changes to the Tentative 
Agreement and Portland Police Association Contract to reflect the 
community's concerns as expressed to you:

--fix the binding arbitration clause so that fired officers stay fired
   (including Officer Ron Frashour who killed Aaron Campbell in 2010
   and was forced back on the city through arbitration)
--remove the clauses that inhibit meaningful civilian oversight
   (as identified by Independent Police Review Director Severe on Sept 14:
    IPR's inability to compel officer testimony, IPR's inability to
    investigate deadly force cases, and the Citizen Review
    Committee's inability to hear appeals on deadly force cases)
--add mandatory drug testing after excessive/deadly force incidents.

If the reason you're rushing to put this contract through is how 
short-staffed the Bureau is, you should not have approved the "secondary 
employment" ordinance Wednesday afternoon which allows officers to perform 
off-duty security functions in uniform. This will only lead to a force 
that's more stretched thin, not less.

This contract is not ready for a vote. It needs to be withdrawn and set over 
for the new Mayor.

dan handelman
  --Portland Copwatch

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