By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
The Legislature had their first major hearing on police restrictions bills.
Here are highlights from the Public Hearing and comments from the law enforcement community that were made:
HB 2932: Directs Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to establish statewide database of reports of use of physical force by peace officers and corrections officers.
• The National Use of Force Database, maintained by the FBI, has about 91% enrollment for Oregon. A requirement for enrollment was suggested by some, others pressed that no additional databases are needed.
• ‘Threat of use of force’ language needs to be fleshed out. Some de-escalation tactics could end up in the database but may have prevented someone from physical harm.
• The requirements are so broad that every officer would likely end up in this database, probably multiple times
• Follow-up on intent is needed.
• Oregon Association Chief of Police stated at the hearing, “We have worked hard to enroll Oregon agencies in the FBI reporting program from the time the database was launched a few years ago and agencies covering over 90% of Oregon police agencies are already enrolled. This would avoid the need to commit very limited state resources to a new database project when an existing database and reporting process is already in place”
• A woman who is married to an officer testified, “The simple act of creating a public list to “track” use of force, implies that an officer has engaged in inappropriate conduct. In fact, uses of force are a regularly used tactic, commonly defined as the amount of effort required by police to compel compliance by an unwilling subject…It has become dreadfully clear that any information about police officers accessible on a public list can and will be used to intimidate and make threats against them, and us, their families.”
HB 2931: Requires person who arrests another person to ensure arrested person receives medical assessment.
• Individuals are constitutionally allowed the right to refuse medical services. Police shouldn’t have to choose between the requirements of this bill and the individual’s right to refuse treatment.
• Bill is not needed as extensive medical examination requirements already exist.
• Oregon Association Chief of Police stated at the hearing, “The medical assessment and the officers time to secure the required assessment would result in significant cost…and would make officers unavailable to respond to other emergency calls for service while they wait for assessments to be completed.Oregon Jail Standards already include a policy for arrestees requiring immediate medical, dental or mental health attention at the time of booking that is in place in all Oregon jails.”
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