Police-Shooting Experts: Portland Failed to Learn From Past Mistakes


Consultants who reviewed seven Portland officer-involved shootings between 2004 and 2010 found many of the same tactical and communication problems that have plagued police for more than a decade, The Oregonian reports. The California-based Office of Independent Review Group identified communication gaps among officers at the scene, excessive delays in getting medical care to wounded suspects, the failure of AR-15 rifle operators to use earpieces to monitor radio talk, long waits to interview involved officers. and a reluctance by the training division to second-guess officers’ actions. The consultants called for an end to a 48-hour rule with the union that allows officers to wait two days before answering investigators’ questions. Over the past 20 years, no Portland officer who has used deadly force has ever agreed to give a voluntary statement on the day of the shooting.

“This circumstance is unfortunate,” the consultants wrote. “We believe that 48 hours is too long to wait for a statement from involved personnel and advocate for a restructuring of the labor agreements mandating the 48-hour delay.” The Police Bureau is seeking a compromise, moving to have officers provide an on-scene “public safety statement” that would give supervisors crucial details on who was injured, whether any suspects are at large and where bullets went. The consultants said that wouldn’t rectify the problem because such statements don’t provide full accounts of what happened. The consultants, hired by the city, found the bureau has failed to learn from past mistakes.

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