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A community oversight committee intended to respond to the findings of a Department of Justice investigation has not been been implemented, the Oregonian reports. The federal investigation found numerous abuses of suspects, as previously noted. The predecessor committee was disbanded, and has yet to be re-formed, though it has been over a year. A request for new proposals was made, and a meeting cancelled, for lack of quality responses, organizers said.

Police interaction with the mentally ill was an area of special concern in the federal report, and citizens have had concerns with the use of force against racial minorities for some time. Advocates for the re-established committee hope that regular dialogue with the police will ease concerns and tension. Positive outcomes from the work of the committee will surely depend also on managing personality conflicts with its members, something not done successfully in the previous incarnation.

Another reason the re-formation of the committee has been delayed was the legal challenge to the settlement reached in 2014. The city of Portland only recently dropped its challenge to the settlement reached with the Department of Justice. The annual status hearing on the settlement is scheduled for April 19.

Rebuilding mutual trust will be an underlying goal, aside from practical recommendations. Trust is an essential ingredient in cooperation, which law enforcement needs to accomplish its goals. A lack of trust causes a breakdown of communities, and the institutions that support them.

Ed Kroll is committed to helping to build a stronger Portland. One of the key parts of that effort is providing vigorous defense of the accused, no matter how serious the charge. All members of our community share in the responsibility to hold law enforcement accountable to due process, the proper procedures that are the heart of our legal system. If you’ve been accused of serious crimes, don’t surrender your rights without a fight. Contact Ed Kroll today.

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