PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — City negotiators Wednesday opened Portland police contract talks by seeking new educational requirements for officers pursuing promotions, greater latitude for city officials to speak publicly about alleged misconduct and police performance evaluations that could lead to discipline.
But the lawyer for the Portland Police Association said the union opposes any “public shaming” of officers and wants funding for courses required for police promotions, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. Employee reviews, he said, should offer constructive not punitive feedback.
Both sides said contract changes should strive to reestablish public trust in the Police Bureau. They don’t agree on how to reach that goal.
Negotiations over contract terms got underway amid heightened calls for significant police reforms in the wake of an unprecedented social justice movement sparked by the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis.
Floyd’s videotaped death prompted months of protests in Portland with many demonstrators calling for defunding police. City commissioners cut $27 million from the Police Bureau budget this fiscal year and eliminated units, including its Gun Violence Reduction Team and Transit Division.
The city also passed a ballot measure in November to create a community board to investigate police misconduct. That’s not part of these talks, the city’s lead negotiator said. The city expects to bargain on the board in about 18 months once a committee decides its structure and makeup.
Attorney Anil Karia, representing the approximately 880-member union of officers, detectives, forensic criminalists and sergeants, said plans to create the independent board or change police discipline should have been negotiated before the proposal was placed on the ballot. The union has filed a formal grievance and unfair labor practice complaint.