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.