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Portland Police Directives: DIRECTIVE 650.00 SEARCH, SEIZURES AND INVENTORIES

DIRECTIVE 650.00 SEARCH, SEIZURES AND INVENTORIES

We last commented on this Directive in October, 2014. It appears that
none of our comments led to changes in the policy, and moreover no
changes were made at all to the policy.

As such, we will simply repeat our previous comments here albeit with
some fine-tuning and updates:

--One term that jumps out in the directive is the exception to searches
needing warrants called "stop and frisk" (Section 2.1). While the term
"frisk" is defined ("a cursory pat-down type physical search of a
person), the action of a police "stop and frisk" is not.
Chief Danielle Outlaw < danielle.outlaw@portlandoregon.gov>, Captain Jeff Bell < Jeff.Bell@portlandoregon.gov>, Lt. Craig Morgan < craig.morgan@portlandoregon.gov>, Dennis Rosenbaum < rosenbaumandwatsonllp@gmail.com>, Community Oversight Advisory Board-Mandi Hood < mandi.hood@portlandoregon.gov>, Citizen Review Committee < crc@portlandoregon.gov>, PPB Directives < PPBDirectives@PortlandOregon.gov>, Mary Hull Caballero < mary.hullcaballero@portlandoregon.gov>, Mayor Ted Wheeler < MayorWheeler@portlandoregon.gov>, Nicole Grant < Nicole.Grant@portlandoregon.gov>

To Chief Outlaw, Capt. Bell, Lieutenant Morgan, PPB Policy Analysts,
Compliance Officer/Community Liaison Team, Community Oversight Advisory
Board staff, US Dept. of Justice, Citizen Review Committee and the
Portland Police Bureau:

Below are our comments on the search Directive (650.00) posted for
review on May 15
< http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/59757>. While we do appreciate
having 30 days now to review second-round policies (such as the four
mental health related Directives posted the same day), we still urge the
Bureau to extend the early comment period to make it easier for more
groups and community members to participate.

We once again call on the Bureau to number all of the sections of the
Directives, such as the Definitions, Policy and Procedure sections. Our
comments here refer to the Procedure section unless otherwise noted.


DIRECTIVE 650.00 SEARCH, SEIZURES AND INVENTORIES

We last commented on this Directive in October, 2014. It appears that
none of our comments led to changes in the policy, and moreover no
changes were made at all to the policy.

As such, we will simply repeat our previous comments here albeit with
some fine-tuning and updates:

--One term that jumps out in the directive is the exception to searches
needing warrants called "stop and frisk" (Section 2.1). While the term
"frisk" is defined ("a cursory pat-down type physical search of a
person), the action of a police "stop and frisk" is not. Such behavior
by police has generated serious mistrust in this community and across
the nation (especially in New York), so a narrow definition of
when/whether "stop and frisk" is lawful and appropriate would go a long
way to build trust. We have repeatedly expressed concern that Portland
officers will engage in what is actually "mere conversation" but preface
it by conducting a pat-down, which seems inappropriate and possibly
illegal.

--We asked for the Directive to be reviewed for its impact on
transgender individuals, including the definition of "Strip Search"
which refers to a person "when female." Also, we asked the PPB to
clarify the provisions for officers who are of the "opposite gender" to
perform searches based on the officers' judgment (Section 3.2). We
recommend asking the suspect what they would prefer before performing a
search. It's also troubling that the witness to a strip search, which is
required to be done by an officer of the same gender as the suspect, can
be witnessed by an opposite gender officer (Section 3.3). We hope the
Bureau will reach out to LGBTQ organizations for input.

--While the definition may meet legal standards, defining "seizure of
property" as "significant interference with a person's possession or
ownership interests" doesn't quite cover "taking someone's stuff" for
the layperson.

--Again, the law may be on the Bureau's side, but it seems very
questionable for officers to use a property inventory to "inadvertently"
discover evidence of a crime, then charge the suspect with that crime
(Section 4.2.3).

One final, and new recommendation would be to require officers to advise
people being searched without a warrant that they have the right to
refuse such a search, since many people either do not know their rights
or are afraid to contradict an officer because they fear the
consequences. The Directive should also remind officers that it is ok
for the community member to refuse the search.

CONCLUSION

Since this Directive is a "First Universal Review" and its last
iteration was before the Bureau began sending out red-line versions, and
including comments, it is difficult to know whether anyone else made
comments back in 2014 on this policy. We find it interesting that on the
other four policies posted on May 15, Portland Copwatch was the only
commenter on three of them. We continue to believe the Bureau should be
more proactive in seeking input, going to mental health advocates for
input on the mental health Directives, the Training Advisory Council on
the training Directive, etc. We have recently learned that the Portland
Committee for Community Engaged Policing is not expected to hold its
first meeting until September, meaning there will have been 20 months
between the demise of the Community Oversight Advisory Board and when a
group specifically mandated to review policies is back on line.
Regardless, PCCEP may not have the expertise-- or more importantly, the
time-- to reach out to community "subject matter experts," so the PPB
should proactively seek out comments.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment
dan handelman and other members of
Portland CopwatchTo Chief Outlaw, Capt. Bell, Lieutenant Morgan, PPB Policy Analysts,
Compliance Officer/Community Liaison Team, Community Oversight Advisory
Board staff, US Dept. of Justice, Citizen Review Committee and the
Portland Police Bureau:

Below are our comments on the search Directive (650.00) posted for
review on May 15
< http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/59757>. While we do appreciate
having 30 days now to review second-round policies (such as the four
mental health related Directives posted the same day), we still urge the
Bureau to extend the early comment period to make it easier for more
groups and community members to participate.

We once again call on the Bureau to number all of the sections of the
Directives, such as the Definitions, Policy and Procedure sections. Our
comments here refer to the Procedure section unless otherwise noted.


DIRECTIVE 650.00 SEARCH, SEIZURES AND INVENTORIES

We last commented on this Directive in October, 2014. It appears that
none of our comments led to changes in the policy, and moreover no
changes were made at all to the policy.

As such, we will simply repeat our previous comments here albeit with
some fine-tuning and updates:

--One term that jumps out in the directive is the exception to searches
needing warrants called "stop and frisk" (Section 2.1). While the term
"frisk" is defined ("a cursory pat-down type physical search of a
person), the action of a police "stop and frisk" is not. Such behavior
by police has generated serious mistrust in this community and across
the nation (especially in New York), so a narrow definition of
when/whether "stop and frisk" is lawful and appropriate would go a long
way to build trust. We have repeatedly expressed concern that Portland
officers will engage in what is actually "mere conversation" but preface
it by conducting a pat-down, which seems inappropriate and possibly
illegal.

--We asked for the Directive to be reviewed for its impact on
transgender individuals, including the definition of "Strip Search"
which refers to a person "when female." Also, we asked the PPB to
clarify the provisions for officers who are of the "opposite gender" to
perform searches based on the officers' judgment (Section 3.2). We
recommend asking the suspect what they would prefer before performing a
search. It's also troubling that the witness to a strip search, which is
required to be done by an officer of the same gender as the suspect, can
be witnessed by an opposite gender officer (Section 3.3). We hope the
Bureau will reach out to LGBTQ organizations for input.

--While the definition may meet legal standards, defining "seizure of
property" as "significant interference with a person's possession or
ownership interests" doesn't quite cover "taking someone's stuff" for
the layperson.

--Again, the law may be on the Bureau's side, but it seems very
questionable for officers to use a property inventory to "inadvertently"
discover evidence of a crime, then charge the suspect with that crime
(Section 4.2.3).

One final, and new recommendation would be to require officers to advise
people being searched without a warrant that they have the right to
refuse such a search, since many people either do not know their rights
or are afraid to contradict an officer because they fear the
consequences. The Directive should also remind officers that it is ok
for the community member to refuse the search.

CONCLUSION

Since this Directive is a "First Universal Review" and its last
iteration was before the Bureau began sending out red-line versions, and
including comments, it is difficult to know whether anyone else made
comments back in 2014 on this policy. We find it interesting that on the
other four policies posted on May 15, Portland Copwatch was the only
commenter on three of them. We continue to believe the Bureau should be
more proactive in seeking input, going to mental health advocates for
input on the mental health Directives, the Training Advisory Council on
the training Directive, etc. We have recently learned that the Portland
Committee for Community Engaged Policing is not expected to hold its
first meeting until September, meaning there will have been 20 months
between the demise of the Community Oversight Advisory Board and when a
group specifically mandated to review policies is back on line.
Regardless, PCCEP may not have the expertise-- or more importantly, the
time-- to reach out to community "subject matter experts," so the PPB
should proactively seek out comments.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment
dan handelman and other members of
Portland Copwatch