Police car on the street

Oregon legislators passed 10 police accountability bills through the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, marking a major bipartisan step toward law enforcement reform.

The bills include directives for investigating officers’ backgrounds more thoroughly before hiring them, regulating the types of munitions and weapons police can use, creating a public database with information about officers’ misconduct and discipline, and requiring officers to have specific identification on their uniforms when working in a crowd.

The House Judiciary Committee is chaired by Janelle Bynum, a Clackamas Democrat. Ron Noble, a McMinnville Republican, and Karin Power, a Milwaukie Democrat, are the vice chairs.

The bipartisan efforts were hailed by Republican lawmakers, Gov. Kate Brown and others.

In a statement released shortly after the bills passed through the committee, the House Republican Caucus released a statement applauding the work of the committee. “I was honored to have been a part of this process, this was a team effort,” Noble said. “I’m also thankful to Chair Bynum for her leadership to achieve true progress with bipartisan partnership.”

Brown attended Tuesday’s session, testifying in support of the bills prior to the vote. “I’m here tonight simply to encourage you to vote yes,” she sad.

In a statement released later Tuesday evening, Brown cited the Public Safety Training and Standards task force, which she created last summer to review law enforcement training and practices. She said the recommendations of that group were reflected in one of the bills.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt also praised the efforts, calling them “historic.

“I applaud the Oregon Legislature for honoring and responding to the community’s demand for deep and transformative change in the relationship between law enforcement and the community they serve,” he said in a statement.

Police accountability was at the top of the agenda for the Legislature’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color Caucus at the beginning of the session.

The caucus introduced, drafted or planned to develop more than 40 pieces of legislation, including Bynum’s proposal to restrict law enforcement’s use of munitions and require thorough background checks and racial bias tests for all police hires.

Both of Bynum’s bills passed through the committee Tuesday.

Copyright 2021 Tribune Content Agency.

(1) comment

CardiacSpike

DPSST can help this effort by ceasing its silent practice of waiting on whether or not to decertify Oregon law enforcement officers under its investigation IF the officer has a civil suit pending against her/his former employer.

Former DCSO deputy Eric Kozowski is one glaring example of the above.

In general, if the officer loses her/his lawsuit DPSST "suddenly" completes its investigation and renders its decision. If the officer wins her/his lawsuit...DPSST does the same but with a CYA thought process in mind".

Perhaps GOV Brown should direct DPSST to "get on with it" at this point in time?

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