PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — U.S. Justice Department lawyers said Friday they’ve found the Portland Police Bureau in substantial compliance with 190 reforms required as part of a city settlement adopted six years ago. The settlement came after a federal investigation determined officers used excessive force against people with mental illness.
Now that a community oversight group is staffed and has met regularly for over a year, the Justice Department said the city meets the settlement’s accountability requirements. The bureau also has instituted needed changes to its use of force policies, training, crisis intervention tactics and employee information system developed to identify officers with excessive complaints or uses of force, the Justice Department said in court documents.
The city must remain in compliance with all of the reforms for one year before the settlement agreement ends, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
The federal government’s assessment comes as the city and Justice Department lawyers prepare to return to the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon in February for a status hearing.
Portland’s new Police Chief Jami Resch applauded the finding, calling it a “major milestone,” but said the bureau must work to continue its progress and “improve the Police Bureau's service to the community."
The community oversight group will discuss the Justice Department's findings at a Tuesday meeting, according to the group's co-chair Lakayana Drury. He wondered last fall how the city's hired compliance officer had come to the same substantial compliance conclusion when police had shot three people suffering from mental illness in 2019.