Oregon Legislature considering 10 police reform bills

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The 10 police reform bills in the Oregon Legislature this session are inching their way to Gov. Kate Brown's desk, and they're some of the most ambitious in the nation.

The 10 House bills on the table compliment two criminal justice bills addressing doxxing and mugshots. The bills make up a rare bipartisan effort in a chamber that's seen little of it this session.

On Tuesday, each of them passed out of the House Judiciary Committee chaired by state Reps. Ron Noble, R-McMinnville, and Janelle Bynum, D-Happy Valley. They await House floor votes.

Here's a breakdown of what could be some of the most ambitious police reforms in the nation.

Training

House Bill 2162 would have the Board of Public Safety Standards and Training research changes to officer training with a report due by the end of 2021. Amendments to the bill would add three members to the board, including at least one person from an underrepresented community. It would also hire on a safety training specialist and a policy analyst at the cost of $409,468 by 2023.

House Bill 2929 would require officers to report misconduct within 72 hours and investigations to be opened within 48 hours.

House Bill 2513 would require police officers to be trained in airway, circulatory anatomy, and physiology. Officers would also be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The bill passed unanimously out of committee.

Hiring and firing

HB 2936 would require the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to investigate a person's character, which includes histories of racism and bias, before accepting them as a full-time or reserve officer.

HB 2930 would open police arbitration cases to the public and have law enforcement agencies to pick from a roster of state-appointed arbitrators. Arbitrators would not be able to overturn disciplinary decisions by authorities, an issue that's kept bad cops on the force around the country. Officers would also be retrained at the cost of $255,773 in general fund money.

Use of force

House Bill 2928 would ban police officers from using tear gas, impact munitions, and sound devices without issuing a riot declaration. Use of strobe lights would be banned altogether. The bill would lift legal protections for officers working crowd control duty, allowing them to be sued for injury.

House Bill 2932 would direct the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to create a statewide database of reports of use of physical force by police and corrections officers. That database is projected to cost $604,823 by 2023 and $424,634 by 2023 in combined personnel costs for the commission.

House Bill 3059 would repeal the state statute allowing police officers to arrest any group of five or more people at will who disobey commands to disperse.

House Bill 3145 would direct the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to create a public database of certain information about misconduct and discipline of public safety employees established by department.

House Bill 3355 would require police officers to identify themselves as members of law enforcement while working on crowd control duty. The bill is in response incidents from Springfield, Oregon to Seattle of officers choosing to dress in plain clothes and covering their badge numbers.

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