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Frequently asked questions

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What is IPR?

The Independent Police Review Division (IPR), a branch of the City Auditor's office is an independent, civilian oversight agency tasked by Portland City Council to investigate and monitor allegations of misconduct by sworn members of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). IPR serves as Portland's intake point for community complaints about PPB officers.

How long has IPR been around?

IPR was created in 2001, replacing the Police Internal Investigations Auditing Committee(PIIAC).

What is the CRC?

The eleven-member Citizen Review Committee (CRC) was created in 2001 to help improve police accountability, promote higher standards of police services, and increase public confidence.  Volunteer CRC members are appointed by City Council to perform four primary functions:

  • Gather community concerns about police services.
  • Help the IPR Director develop policy recommendations to address patterns of problems with police services and conduct.
  • Review and advise IPR and IA on the complaint handling process.
  • Hear appeals from complainants and officers and publicly report its findings.

What happens after I file a complaint?

After a community member files a complaint, the IPR will assign the case to a complaint investigator for an initial investigation. The investigator will interview the complainant(s), all available civilian witnesses, gather police reports, dispatch records, and video or audio recordings of the incident. The IPR Director will then choose to have the complaint handled in one of the ways listed below:

  • Independent Investigation: IPR is authorized under City Code to conduct independent investigations into allegations of police misconduct.
  • Internal Affairs Investigation Referral: The case can be referred to the Police Bureau Internal Affairs for investigation. All Internal Affairs investigations are reviewed by IPR.
  • Supervisory Investigation: allegations related to minor rule violations that would not result in discipline may be referred to an officer’s supervisor for investigation. All supervisory investigations are reviewed by IPR.
  • Administrative Closure: The complaint may be administratively closed after initial investigation if it falls into one of the categories outlined in City Code 3.21.120, most commonly because the conduct described, even if proven true, does not violate a Portland Police Bureau directive. The complainant will receive a letter explaining why the case was closed.
  • Mediation: In certain cases, with the approval of both the complainant and the police officer, the case can be mediated. IPR will arrange for an outside mediator to meet with you and the officer with the intent to clear up any misunderstandings by discussing the incident in an informal and non-confrontational setting.
  • Referral: Certain cases may be referred to other City Bureaus if they can more appropriately deal with the complaint. For example, if there is evidence of criminal conduct, the IPR Director will refer the case to the Police Bureau or the District Attorney's Office for a criminal investigation. If the complaint involves a non-Portland Police officer, then the complaint will be referred to the appropriate police department. For cases that do not involve misconduct, but a community member may benefit by discussing their concerns, IPR may refer the matter to the appropriate Precinct Commander.

Complaint Categories

Complaints into the following six types:

Force: An allegation that an officer used excessive or inappropriate physical or deadly physical force.

Control Techniques: An allegation that a "control technique" was used unreasonably or improperly. This would include control holds, hobble, "take downs," and handcuffing.

Conduct: An allegation that tends to bring reproach or discredit upon the Police Bureau or City of Portland. It involves behavior by a Bureau member that is unprofessional, unjustified, beyond the scope of their authority, or unsatisfactory work performance.

Disparate Treatment: Allegations of specific actions or statements that indicate inappropriate treatment of an individual that is different from the treatment of another because of race, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, economic status, political views, religious beliefs, or disability.

Courtesy: Allegations relating to rude or discourteous conduct, other than disparate treatment.

Procedure: Allegations that an administrative or procedural requirement was not met. This would normally include the failure of a police officer to follow general policies and procedures that relate to identification, report writing, notebook entries, and property/evidence handling.

Can I file a complaint about a non PPB officer?

No. IPR is only authorized to recieve complaints about the conduct of sworn Portland Police Bureau members. When IPR does recieve a complaint involving a non PPB officer we do forward the information to the appropriate agency.

What happens if my complaint is referred to Internal Affairs for an investigation?

If the IPR Director refers the complaint to Internal Affairs (IA), where they will conduct their own investigation. IPR is tasked by City Code to review and approve every IA investigations and finding by the involved officers commanding officer. Additionally, IPR will be responsible for communicating with the person who filed the complaint and keeping them informed about the status of their case.

What happens after the PPB investigation is complete?

After the investigation is complete, a report on the investigation will be forwarded to a PPB commanding officer, PPB managers, and the IPR for review. They will review the evidence and issue a finding on the complaint. There are two general findings:

NOT SUSTAINED: The finding will not be sustained if it is found that:

  • The allegation(s) is false;
  • The actions of the police officer were within the guidelines of Police Bureau policy;
  • There is not enough evidence to prove or disprove the allegation(s);
  • The allegation(s) are of a minor rule violation that would not result in discipline, even if proven true.

SUSTAINED: The finding will be sustained if:

  • The officer was found to have been in violation of Police Bureau policy or procedure.

Is IPR part of the Police Bureau?

No.  IPR is a division of the City Auditor’s Office. The IPR Director reports directly to the City Auditor. In Portland, the City Auditor is an independently elected official.  The current Auditor is Mary Hull Caballero

Can I file a complaint if I witness police misconduct?

Yes, IPR accepts complaints from eyewitnesses to incidents of police misconduct.

What happens if a complaint is not sustained?

After a full investigation is completed and findings are determined, the person who filed the complaint and the officer who was the subject of the complaint will receive a letter explaining the decision.  Either a community member (when an allegations is not sustained) or an officer (when an allegation is sustained) has the right to request an appeal to the Citizen Review Committee (CRC).  If no appeal is filed within 30 days, the case will be closed.

If a request for appeal is received, a Case File Review will be set to determine whether any additional investigation is need before before the appeal. Every appellant has the ability to request the assitance of an Appeal Process Advisor(APA) to help them with the appeal process. Outside volunteer groups, such as the National Lawyer's Guild are also available to provde assistance to community members.

Click here for an appeal form to print and mail

Click here for a link to the protocols describing the appeals process

What happens if the complaint is sustained?

If the complaint is sustained, the IPR will notify the person who filed the complaint of the finding. PPB managers will recommend discipline actions to the Chief of Police. The Mayor may also review serious discipline actions, such as termination or suspension.

An officer against whom a complaint is sustained will have an opportunity to appeal the finding with the IPR.

How do I file a commendation?

To file a commendation or compliment regarding a Portland Police Bureau employee you can fill out the IPR's electronic commendation form or mail a completed complaint/commendation form. You can also file a commendation by visiting any police precinct or calling the Portland Police Chief's office at 503-823-0000.

Click here to electronically file a commendation

Click here for a commendation form in English, Spanish, Russian, Chinese or Korean to print and mail.