Mayor’s Corner: March 2021

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On Jan. 25, the Tualatin City Council voted unanimously to accept the Community Conversations on Police Use of Force Policies Final Report and directed city staff to prepare a work plan to implement the six recommendations included in the report.

This report was compiled following an extensive community engagement process designed to follow the four-step process identified in the “Reimagining Policing Pledge” I took in June 2020. The pledge committed organizations to review their police use of force policies in collaboration with the community and make any necessary changes to ensure excessive use of force is not tolerated. Over fifty residents engaged in the process, whether by attending a public meeting, or submitting written comment.

Recommendations identified in the final report include:

  • Collaborate with regional partners to improve response to individuals experiencing mental health crises.
  • Ensure use of force policies include a focus on using the least amount of force reasonable.
  • Ensure use of force policies include a focus on using de-escalation techniques when reasonable.
  • Increase training on recognizing when someone is in distress.
  • Increase training on cultural awareness and racial bias.
  • Provide regular updates to the City Council and the community – particularly on stop data, use of force data, and officer misconduct.

As a member of the Metropolitan Mayors’ Consortium (MMC) I will advocate for policy changes and funding allocations for mental health in the 2021 Oregon legislative session, including: continuation of present service levels for crisis intervention services; expansion of emergency access to care; mental health parity; decriminalization of mental illness; specialized mental health training for police; and additional funding for the housing and treatment of Oregon’s mentally ill residents.  This is critical in the effort to complete the first recommendation.

The Tualatin Police Department has added new information to the police department webpage to address the sixth recommendation from the conversations.  Now under the “Annual Reports” tab is a yearly Use of Force Analysis and a Pursuit Analysis.  The Use of Force and Pursuit reports have more information than the department has released in previous years.  Police Chief Bill Steele will attend the city council work session on March 22nd to go over these documents.

Chief Bill Steele and City Manager Sherilyn Lombos will report back to the City Council on progress implementing these six recommendations.

Frank Bubenik
(971) 420-7443