Letter on Side Agreements to PPA Contract

To the members of Portland City Council:

In addition to the items which are being negotiated directly with the Portland Police Association for their Collective Bargaining Agreement, the undersigned organizations ask that Council consider these issues which may come up as side agreements to the actual contract. While we do not necessarily agree that any of these subjects are mandatory for bargaining, we encourage them to be worked out during negotiations to allow for a better Police Bureau that can build community confidence.

The policy on Body Cameras.

This policy was negotiated in 2016 and the draft at the time suggested that officers should be able to review body camera footage before writing reports. Experts have said this will not provide evidence of what the officer's "reasonable belief" was at the time of the incident. We urge Council to disallow review of footage until after reports are written.

Details on the oversight system

It has been stated that the City is reluctant to give a civilian review body hearing appeals of misconduct cases a less-than-deferential means to determine whether officers violate policy because the City thinks the "standard of review" has to be negotiated. The current standard asks the Citizen Review Committee-- and City Council-- to ask whether a "reasonable person" can agree with a Bureau finding.

It would be more meaningful, be more reflective of better systems, and be easier for non-lawyers to understand if the standard were changed to a "preponderance of the evidence."

Fixing the Discipline Matrix

It became clear when an officer who made racially biased (and violent) comments as a "joke" could not be fired that the Discipline Matrix needs to allow for firing of officers who commit such acts on their first offense. We urge the City to fix this part of the Matrix.

We also encourage the City to publish a list of all such agreements which have been made with the PPA, as they affect public policy. Often community members call for change and accountability and are told it cannot be done due to the contract, when in fact the policies in question have been negotiated in another form. Except for the Ordinance accompanying the 2016 contract, it is not clear how the community is expected to know the substance of such agreements being made in our names.


Unite Oregon

Portland Copwatch

Portland Jobs with Justice

Portland-Metro People's Coalition

Portland's Resistance

Pacific Northwest Family Circle