Portland, Or., Police Chief Derrick Foxworth is taking several steps he’s taking to increase public trust in city police, The Oregonian reports. The chief wants to bring back an Office of Professional Standards, which was dismantled in 2003 because of budget constraints. The Portland Police Bureau also applied in November for national accreditation, a process that could take two years as the bureau seeks recognition as a model police agency. The standards office will be responsible for conducting internal audits of police practices, such as handling evidence or using confidential informants. It will establish an early intervention system to help identify problems with officers before they get out of hand.
Foxworth estimated that assigning at least 10 sworn officers and civilian staff for the new responsibilities will cost $700,000. Robert King, president of the Portland Police Association, supports the chief’s ideas but wants to make sure the chief does not pull officers or sergeants from the streets to fill the new positions. Darrel Schenck, a retired police captain who once headed the bureau’s internal affairs division, has been working under contract for the bureau for 11 months to help get an early intervention system in place. The Independent Police Review Division, where complaints against police are lodged, and the Police Assessment Resource Center, Los Angles-based consultants who studied Portland police shootings, have both called for such a system. The bureau has hired a company for about $90,000 to provide the software that would enable tracking officers’ use of force, arrests, accidents, overtime hours worked, and citizen complaints.