Portland police oversight board may head to November ballot

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty spoke at a rally on the steps of the Multnomah County Justice Center on Friday, July 17.

The Portland City Council on Wednesday, July 29, will consider letting voters set up an independent commission to oversee misconduct investigations of the Portland police officers. But the pace of the move and a lack of public hearings is causing concerns.

Portland's civilian oversight office has been beefed up several times since the first one was formed in 1982. Today, the city's Independent Police Review unit employs a hybrid system, using civilian investigators to probe about a third of misconduct complaints, while monitoring how police bureau investigators handle the rest. Recommendations for discipline are forwarded to a review board set up by the Portland Police Bureau and then to the chief, before the mayor imposes final discipline.