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  A dozen bills on police reform approved in Oregon   Governor Brown congratulates Oregon House Judiciary Committee after the death of George Floyd  


Story by Donna Millsap - The Oregon Herald
Published on Thursday April 8, 2021 - 10:00 PM

 
SALEM, Oregon - The Oregon House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday to send a number of police reform bills to the full house floor. The bills contain a variety of reform issues, including new training, and the use of tear gas and munitions.

Republicans and Democrats unanimously approved many of those reform bills, demonstrating rare bipartisan unity.

The bills include regulating use of tear gas, requiring a publicly accessible database containing the names of officers who have been disciplined for misconduct, and somewhat limiting arbitrators' decisions.

Governor Brown congratulated the committee after the death of George Floyd last May in Minneapolis and joined Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.

"Oregon is doing the work to reimagine how police interact with the communities they serve and how we hold officers and police departments accountable," said Rosenblum..

"During this past year, more than ever, we've seen Oregonians, urban and rural, standing up to make their voices heard in calling for racial justice and police accountability — even in the middle of a pandemic — because the need for change is so pressing," Brown said.

executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, Sandy Chung said the committee's action represents "important, bipartisan steps to make necessary reforms for Oregon communities."

Rep. Christine Drazan also praised the committee for its bipartisan cooperation. Over many weeks, the committee's six Democrats and four Republicans had debated and heard public testimony on the bills. They also hammered out dozens of amendments

"I could not be more proud that we can come together tonight in mutual support of a package of bipartisan amendments that will allow us to work together to support more fair, equitable and transparent policing across our state," Drazan said.

— Set the groundwork for equity training as part of basic training for police officers, and add at least one member from a marginalized or historically underrepresented community to the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training

— Regulate use of chemical agents, impact projectiles and sound devices by law enforcement

— Have the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission establish a detailed statewide database on use of physical force by police and deaths in custody. The database must be searchable and available to the public.

— Require the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to create a uniform background checklist for law enforcement agencies to use when hiring, and to include applicant's tendencies and opinions toward diverse cultures and races

— Require police working in crowd management to have identifying information on uniforms or tactical helmets, either their first initial and last name or a unique identifier assigned by the officer's law enforcement agency.

Brown said that in the 30 years she has worked in the state Capitol as a lawmaker and as governor, the committee's work is unprecedented.

"I have never seen extraordinary work like we are seeing tonight coming out of this committee," Brown said.