Legislative Deadline Week

This past week in Salem was deadline week, meaning that any measures that had not been moved by the relevant policy committee by midnight on Tuesday are now “dead” bills. And while a couple of ORCOPS-sponsored measures were caught in that trap, we had a lot more success in moving good measures along and killing bad bills.

ORCOPS’ measures to crack down on Brady list abuses and capricious citation evaluations were both left in committee. However, Senate Judiciary Chairman Floyd Prozanski (D – Eugene) has indicated a desire to work on both issues in the interim. Also left in the Judiciary Committee were several measures that ORCOPS fought against throughout session, including measures to functionally eliminate consent searches, requiring officers to undergo additional mental health sessions and drug tests after critical incidents, another measure requiring the Attorney General to investigate all use of force incidents, and others with similar themes.

One measure of concern that did make it out the Senate Judiciary Committee is SB 496, which has the primary goal of recording grand jury proceedings. However, there is a small section in the measure that would cause the records to become publicly-requestable when a law enforcement officer is the target of the grand jury. ORCOPS has been fighting against this provision for several years, and the measure now moves to the Ways & Means Committee, where ORCOPS will continue to oppose it. Senator Kim Thatcher (R – Keizer) voted with ORCOPS on the measure in the Judiciary Committee.

A perennial measure to allow the use of polygraphs for screening law enforcement officers, SB 519, was stuck in committee upon Tuesday’s deadline. However, another measure in the House of Representatives, HB 2545, created a designation of “deception detection” devices separate from polygraphs and would likely have created a loophole that allowed such devices to be used in lieu of polygraphs. ORCOPS spoke with sponsor Rep. Jodi Hack (R – Salem) who agreed to an amendment with Rep. Jeff Barker (D – Aloha) to close that loophole, which was not really the intent of the measure. Additionally, Eugene Police Chief Kearns, who has been pushing the polygraph measure, has announced his retirement, so hopefully this is one perennial issue that will be put to rest.

Another interesting event happened on deadline day. SB 728 simply asks for a study from DPSST.  However, the measure’s “relating clause” was exceedingly broad: “Relating to law enforcement.” This means that with as little as one-hour notice, the measure could be amended with anything having to do with “law enforcement.” ORCOPS’ lobbyist saw that the measure was suddenly scheduled for a work session (which includes the ability to amend the measure) the morning of deadline day and immediately ran to sign up on the bill to have standing to testify. At that point, we didn’t know what might happen with the bill. As it turns out, Committee staff indicated that the measure was not meant to go anywhere and the measure was taken off the agenda. But ORCOPS was watching closely; ORCOPS and DPSST (who also noticed the measure and had a similar concern) were the only two entities to sign up for potential testimony.

Other measures that were blocked due in part to ORCOPS’ work include several promise-breaking PERS “reforms;” a measure that would have restricted officers from using “trickery” or “artifice” (their words!) in interviewing suspects; and a measure that would have prohibited minors from waiving their right to counsel. It should be noted that several measures (including a different PERS “reform” measure that would revamp how final average salary is calculated) were moved to their respective chambers’ Rules Committees “without recommendation.” This is generally a courtesy to a member who doesn’t have the votes to pass their measure, but the maneuver keeps the measure alive past the deadline date. However, the “without recommendation” designation is an indication that the measure is not likely to garner support. However, it is important to remember that in this legislative session, the Legislature is looking to strike deals on a revenue package and a transportation package, and as those negotiations occur, ORCOPS will be wary that absolutely any bill might be brought to the negotiation table. So, we will stay vigilant!

Stay safe out there,

Daryl Turner, President
Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs

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The Salem Machine at Work

This past week was hectic for everyone in Salem, as it was the last week to get bills scheduled to be voted on by committees in their original chamber (they must be voted on by committees by April 18).

ORCOPS started the week out by testifying with the Chiefs, Sheriffs, and other law enforcement organizations to support a measure facilitating medical screenings when an officer is exposed to another person’s bodily fluids. Senator Tim Knopp (R – Bend) expressed support for the concept, acknowledging that “peace of mind matters” to law enforcement officers in this situation.

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.

ORCOPS also had a fruitful meeting on PERS “reform” with Senator Steiner-Hayward (D – Portland/Beaverton), who seemed to indicate support of ORCOPS’ position on protecting and respecting the State’s pension promises. ORCOPS is the only member of the pension-defending PERS Coalition representing local law enforcement officers.

ORCOPS is pleased to report that Senate Bill 712 unanimously passed the Senate Workforce Committee this past week, with some amendments. The bill provides PERS time credit for officers who are injured on duty and receive workers’ compensation benefits, and fixes a serious inequity within Tier-3 PERS (OPSRP) where someone injured on the job and collecting workers comp currently doesn’t receive service credit for the period between the injury and their return to work.

Several other more “housekeeping” measures passed, such as HB 2987, which slightly modifies the crime of giving false information to an officer, and clarifies the language slightly. On these measures, ORCOPS tracks the legislation and works with committee members, but does not need to give testimony.

Lastly, HB 2674, which would fix an oversight in the extension of PERS to OHSU’s police officers, was not scheduled for a hearing, even after OHSU and ORCOPS came to an agreement on the policy. Although the measure was very narrow in scope and effect, the House leadership refused any and all measures that would expand PERS, even so slightly, under fear that it would impede other negotiations. ORCOPS will continue to pursue the measure as an amendment.

Stay safe out there.

Daryl Turner, President
Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs

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Maintaining Our Voice in Salem

This past week in Salem saw more behind-the-scenes discussions than public hearings. A big part of ORCOPS’ job in Salem is to go beyond the hearings and maintain relationships and negotiations with other public safety stakeholders.

Most pieces of legislation this session have a deadline coming up soon: they must be scheduled for a “work session” (meaning a committee will move for a vote on the bill) by the end of next week. There are a few exceptions (like the State budget), but most of the measures ORCOPS is watching are subject to this deadline.

On the one hand, we will likely see a lot of bad and unfriendly bills, such as the bill requiring drug testing police officers, miss that deadline and become “dead” bills. On the other hand, several bills ORCOPS is advocating for are also subject to that deadline, particularly bills relating to Brady list protections and citation comparisons.

ORCOPS has been negotiating with other public safety stakeholders as well as Legislative leadership to both move ORCOPS’ agenda as well as block bad legislation. For example, there has been a renewed last-ditch effort by some Democrats to make officers’ grand jury transcripts a matter of public record across the State (this is already practiced in Multnomah County but only at the discretion of the District Attorney), and ORCOPS has been working to prevent that.

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!

Public pension “reform” discussions are still underway.  As the only representatives of local line officers and deputies on the pension-defending PERS Coalition, ORCOPS has been coordinating meetings with other coalition members.  If any law enforcement officers are interested in coming down to Salem to meet with legislators on this issue, please email info@orcops.orgto coordinate that with our team in Salem.

Lastly, the second (and at this point, last) step in the “End Profiling” effort, HB 2355, was passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on an 8-2 vote. As a part of that workgroup, ORCOPS approved the resulting legislation, which focuses on training and data collection.  The Legislature’s task force on profiling issues that was established in 2015 is scheduled to dissolve this year.

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ORCOPS Opposes Measures Affecting Interactions with Minors

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.

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ORCOPS On The Front Lines In Salem

ORCOPS was active in Salem this past week, both pushing good policy forward and defending against bad policy.

The week started with a roundtable discussion organized by Senator Floyd Prozanski (D – Eugene), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to help determine the Judiciary agenda for the balance of the 2017 Legislative Session. ORCOPS represented line officers and deputies among a group that included Chiefs and Sheriffs, the Oregon Defense Attorneys Association, and the ACLU. While agreement among this group has been mixed on a wide array of issues, ORCOPS has built relationships based on mutual respect and candidness and works well with these stakeholders, even when strongly disagreeing.

SB 352, which would prohibit consent searches unless a person was specifically informed of their ability to refuse the search, will not be passing in the 2017 session thanks to the stalwart opposition of several law enforcement groups. We do expect the ACLU to develop an alternate proposal for future sessions, so it is important to remain vigilant.

SB 642, a measure pushed by ORCOPS that would prevent local agencies from using peer-to-peer comparisons of citation issuance to evaluate performance, is still under consideration. However, the Chiefs and Sheriffs associations have been given some time to consider what adjustments they would like to see in the measure. Those associations have suggested a simple ban on quotas, but ORCOPS contends that would be functionally meaningless without also banning peer-to-peer comparisons. ORCOPS is the only law enforcement group that has been pushing this measure.

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.

ORCOPS also made sure to publicly back SB 712, which provides PERS time credit for officers who are injured on duty and receive workers’ compensation benefits. This bill fixes a serious inequity within tier-3 PERS (OPSRP) where someone injured on the job and collecting workers comp currently doesn’t receive time credit for the period between the injury and their return to work. ORCOPS joined with the Oregon State Fire Fighters Council and the Oregon State Police Officers Association to testify in favor of this. State Trooper Nic Cederberg and Fire Fighter Council member Peter St. John provided some riveting testimony that we hope will lead to the quick passage of SB 712. This bill and Rep. Margaret Doherty’s (D – Tigard) HB 2646 are identical, but SB 712 seems to be the one that will go through, with HB 2646 held in reserve in case it becomes necessary.

Finally, as PERS discussions continue, you can use this tool to calculate the hit on your PERS retirement under the so-called PERS “reform” bills circulating through the Legislature.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks on PERS “reforms” as well as resolution on profiling policies.

Stay safe out there.

Daryl Turner, President
Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs

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SB 519 & HB 2545

Polygraphs

April 21, 20017 UPDATE

A perennial measure to allow the use of polygraphs for screening law enforcement officers, SB 519, was stuck in committee upon Tuesday’s deadline. However, another measure in the House of Representatives, HB 2545, created a designation of “deception detection” devices separate from polygraphs and would likely have created a loophole that allowed such devices to be used in lieu of polygraphs. ORCOPS spoke with sponsor Rep. Jodi Hack (R – Salem) who agreed to an amendment with Rep. Jeff Barker (D – Aloha) to close that loophole, which was not really the intent of the measure. Additionally, Eugene Police Chief Kearns, who has been pushing the polygraph measure, has announced his retirement, so hopefully this is one perennial issue that will be put to rest.

March 18, 2017

For the third year in a row, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the ability of law enforcement agencies to utilize polygraphs for pre-employment screening. ORCOPS has opposed these bills year after year, and this session is no exception. This past week, ORCOPS’ testimony and face-to-face meetings with Senators helped to prevent SB 519 moving forward. But, because this is a priority of the committee’s chairman, continued success requires constant vigilance on our part.

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ORCOPS Legislative Update: Battling PERS Rollbacks And More

This past week in Salem saw ORCOPS step up to defend law enforcement officers as well as public employee pensions.

This session, several measures have been introduced that threaten to roll back existing PERS commitments already made to Oregon’s public employees. The Senate Workforce Committee held hearings on two of those bills this past week, with ORCOPS as the only law enforcement organization testifying in opposition.

In addition, for the third year in a row, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the ability of law enforcement agencies to utilize polygraphs for pre-employment screening. ORCOPS has opposed these bills year after year, and this session is no exception. This past week, ORCOPS’ testimony and face-to-face meetings with Senators helped to prevent SB 519 moving forward. But, because this is a priority of the committee’s chairman, continued success requires constant vigilance on our part.

Also this week, ORCOPS was the only law enforcement organization to support HB 2337, which increases minimum and maximum workers’ compensation benefits for permanent total disability. The measure passed the House floor and is now headed to the Senate.

ORCOPS has worked with legislators in both chambers to introduce legislation to improve working conditions for Oregon’s law enforcement officers. SB 642 would prevent law enforcement agencies from evaluating performance or disciplining officers based on a peer-to-peer comparison of citations issued. Although the Chiefs and Sheriffs are opposing the measure, ORCOPS has support from House Judiciary Chairman Jeff Barker (D – Beaverton) and Senator Lew Frederick (D – Portland). Although ORCOPS is opposing other bills sponsored by Senator Frederick, this is an opportunity to develop some common ground and establish a constructive dialogue. ORCOPS has also introduced HB 3365, which would prevent an officer from being disciplined solely due to their appearance on a DA’s Brady List. ORCOPS-endorsed Rep. Carla Piluso (D – Gresham) has sponsored this measure, and discussions are ongoing with other stakeholders as we chart a path forward.

Have a great weekend & stay safe.

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SB 642

March 25, 2017

SB 642, a measure pushed by ORCOPS that would prevent local agencies from using peer-to-peer comparisons of citation issuance to evaluate performance, is still under consideration. However, the Chiefs and Sheriffs associations have been given some time to consider what adjustments they would like to see in the measure. Those associations have suggested a simple ban on quotas, but ORCOPS contends that would be functionally meaningless without also banning peer-to-peer comparisons. ORCOPS is the only law enforcement group that has been pushing this measure.

March 17, 2017

ORCOPS has worked with legislators in both chambers to introduce legislation to improve working conditions for Oregon’s law enforcement officers. SB 642 would prevent law enforcement agencies from evaluating performance or disciplining officers based on a peer-to-peer comparison of citations issued. Although the Chiefs and Sheriffs are opposing the measure, ORCOPS has support from House Judiciary Chairman Jeff Barker (D – Beaverton) and Senator Lew Frederick (D – Portland). Although ORCOPS is opposing other bills sponsored by Senator Frederick, this is an opportunity to develop some common ground and establish a constructive dialogue.

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