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Portland launches outside review of potential racial, political bias in its police department

Nina Crow
Written by Nina Crow

Portland launches outside review of potential racial, political bias in its police department

The city of Portland has signed a $150,000 contract with a California firm to examine whether there is political or racial bias in its police department.Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian

The city of Portland has signed a $150,000 contract with a California firm to investigate whether the city’s police agency shows racial or political bias or resistance to change.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who believes she and other Black people have been the targets of Portland police bias, announced the contract details Thursday. The study’s findings are due by December.

The firm they hired, OIR Group, is the same one the city already hired to perform a narrower investigation into the recent leak of police and dispatch records related to a mistaken report that Hardesty was the driver in a minor hit-and-run car collision. The president of the Portland police union resigned shortly after the leak occurred, citing an unspecified “mistake” he made related to it.

Portland launches outside review of potential racial, political bias in its police department

OIR Group, based in Los Angeles and headed by a former federal prosecutor, has reviewed police agencies in Iowa, California and elsewhere, including a 2018 review of the Clackamas County sheriff’s office.

The larger review of the Portland Police Bureau announced Thursday will examine three broad topics, Wheeler and Hardesty said in a news release.

Racial bias: Are the Police Bureau’s policies, culture or actions influenced by racial bias? If so, what is the extent of that bias, what are its root causes and what are the best practices to addresses them?

Political bias: Are the Police Bureau’s policies, culture or actions influenced by political bias? If so, what is the extent of that bias, what are its root causes and what should be done about them?

Resistance to change: Are the Police Bureau’s policies, culture or actions resistant to change sought by the community? If so, what is the extent of that resistance, what are its root causes and what are the best practices to address that resistance?

This is a developing story.

— Betsy Hammond; betsyhammond@oregonian.com; @OregonianPol

Source: www.oregonlive.com

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Nina Crow

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