During a special session, the Oregon Legislature passed six bills addressing police accountability and reform (below). The Senate and House both passed the bills on the final day of the special session, June 26. The legislation, which was called for by the People of Color Caucus, was supported by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland.
SB 1604 – Police Arbitration: Tightens restrictions allowing arbitrators to overturn police disciplinary findings in situations of misconduct.
HB 4201 – Legislative Committee: Establishes the Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force, which is required to report any findings by the end of 2020.
HB 4203 – Chokehold Restriction: Bans police use of chokeholds, unless in situations where use of deadly force is permitted.
HB 4205 – Duty to Intervene: Requires police officers to act on or report incidents of misconduct when observing fellow officers.
HB 4207 – Police Database: Requires Oregon’s Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) to establish a public, statewide database of incidents of police misconduct.
HB 4208 – Tear Gas Restriction: Prohibits law enforcement from using tear gas for crowd control except when a riot is declared.
The JFGP signed a June 23 interfaith letter in support of the legislation. It notes: As members of the faith community in Oregon, we support the passage of police accountability legislation put forth today by the People of Color Caucus and call for further reforms based in the contributions of community-led organizations and the insights of our state’s tireless Black faith leader advocates. Where equal treatment and personal safety should be the most basic outcomes of policing, whole segments of our society live in fear of unwarranted harassment and violence at the hands of their sworn protectors. Our faith tells us to seek an end to violence of all forms and to treat our neighbors in the same manner we would like to be treated.
For more information on the legislation or the Jewish community’s work with the Black and other minority communities, contact JFGP Community Relations Director Bob Horenstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-245-6496.