Portland, OR.-- Despite a high tide of political disagreement and fear, we have seen our Democratic and Republican legislators join together to bring this bill closer and closer to becoming a law. We have hope that our growing partnership between families and law enforcement will bloom into more just day-to-day interactions on our streets.
Our goal is to protect vulnerable Oregonians by requiring law enforcement agencies to train our officers in cultural competency; keep more detailed records about the race, ethnicity and gender of the people we are stopping in vehicles and on foot; and set up a system of accountability for officers who profile.
Our goal is also to help rebuild Oregonians’ trust in our legal system by requiring that the new data be used to help our local police jurisdictions do the best job they can. Over time, profiling has broken down the trust our communities need to have in our law enforcement system. We want to help create a new system that keeps vulnerable people safe and also gives law enforcement officers the tools they need to do their jobs better than ever.
We began this journey towards a more fair justice system because we heard from communities across the state on how families are profoundly hurt by profiling -- financially, professionally and emotionally. We held listening sessions in rural parts of the state in which the whole room was full of mothers, fathers, kids -- families that told heartbreaking stories of unfair treatment by law enforcement and the long-term damage it has had on them. These situations often impact innocent children in profound ways -- children who watch these events unfold and for the rest of their lives associate law enforcement with fear and abuse of power.
That is why we have built coalitions with law enforcement and local leaders who care about justice and want to see our legal systems work for all. These relationships will continue to bring positive change in Oregon cities and towns.
Everyone at the table realizes this is a struggle that will continue for years to come, but the work we have done alongside law enforcement officials gives us hope for the future of Oregon.