There were two police shootings in Portland last year, the fewest in a decade, reports The Oregonian. At the same time, police discipline is up, indicating that officers are being held more accountable, says an annual report by the city’s Independent Police Review Division. Division director Mary-Beth Baptista called the numbers a positive trend.
The report shows that the number of citizen complaints to the police oversight agency has continued to drop since 2004, with 660 in 2007. Most of the complaints involved rudeness or excessive force, and were lodged against precinct officers. In 2007, the agency declined 58 percent of the complaints, finding those “unprovable or non-meritorious.” The oversight agency says it remains concerned that the Portland Police Bureau has sustained only one citizen allegation of excessive non-lethal force in the past six years. The report provides a much rosier view of police oversight than did an outside consultant’s assessment in January. It concluded that the rate of complaints sustained against police — under 1 percent from 2002 to 2006 — was substantially lower than in other cities with similar oversight systems. The consultant said complaints were down because residents don’t know how the oversight system works and have lost confidence in it.