April 10, 2017 UPDATE
We continue to work with the District Attorneys Association to prevent a damaging bill that would impede officers’ ability to interview minors (HB 3242), and our conversations with Rep Barker (D – Beaverton), whose committee heard the measure, have been fruitful. We’ll learn next week whether the measure is tabled or if there is enough lingering support to pass it in some form.
March 31, 2017 UPDATE
Another measure, HB 3242, would require officers to electronically record all conversations with minors suspected of committing a crime. ORCOPS testified last week to the real-world impracticality of that measure, but there is now an effort by the measure’s supporters to find a compromise that would limit the requirement to more specific circumstances. ORCOPS’ lobbyist received an anonymous menacing phone call regarding this measure, which means we’re being effective!
March 25, 2017
The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on three measures last week that would drastically affect interactions with minors.
- HB 2718 would prohibit officers from interviewing a minor until the minor had consulted with an attorney. The measure would not allow that requirement to be waived, even by the minor’s parents or guardians.
- HB 3242 would require all custodial interviews with minors be recorded electronically, but does not provide any funding for equipment, nor does it provide for unanticipated circumstances. ORCOPS-endorsed Rep. Andy Olson (R – Albany), a 29-year veteran with the Oregon State Police, did an excellent job outlining the challenges of this measure, especially in rural areas of the state.
- HB 3244 would prohibit officers from utilizing “deceit, trickery, or artifice” when conducting interviews. An amendment to that bill would even further prohibit officers from implying or suggesting that cooperation could lead to leniency. The measure is poorly defined, to say the least — no one was able to provide a legal definition of “artifice”.
Opposing the bills was only a panel of ORCOPS (representing line officers and deputies), Sheriff Jason Myers of Marion County (representing both the Chiefs and Sheriffs associations), and Kurt Miller (a DPSST trainer representing the Oregon District Attorneys Association). The panel pointed out that as “best practices” are organically moving in these directions, it would be better to allow local law enforcement agencies to develop these practices on their own rather than impose hard-and-fast statewide mandates. Subsequent discussions with committee members have indicated that these measures are unlikely to move forward.