In a move community leaders say “should lead to better treatment of all Portlanders,” a federal judge signed off on an agreement between the federal government and the city that seeks to improve the sometimes violent encounters between police and people with mental illness, The Oregonian reports. The settlement approved by U.S. District Judge Michael Simon calls for many changes in police policies, training and oversight. Among them: more clear-cut policies about when officers can use deadly force, a push for greater diversity in police hiring, an expansion of the city’s mobile crisis units and quicker investigations into officer misconduct.
The city must give the judge annual updates of its progress in carrying out the reforms, which could take as long as five years. The city and police union had objected to the annual check-ins, but a community group said they were necessary to hold the city and police accountable. The judge also ordered the city or its new compliance officer to give him quarterly reports. Simon stopped short of ordering that police wear body cameras to record their interactions with the public, though he noted that the technology is improving and police forces around the country are using them “in ways that protect both law enforcement officers and the public they serve.”