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0335.00 Discipline Process

Administrative Rules Adopted by Bureaus Pursuant to Rule Making Authority (ARB)
Policy number
PPB-0335.00
On this page

335.00, Discipline Process

Refer:

  • Portland City Code 3.20.140 Police Review Board
  • City of Portland, Human Resources Administrative Rule 5.01, Discipline
  • DIR 330.00, Internal Affairs, Complaint Intake, and Processing
  • DIR 336.00, Police Review Board
  • DIR 338.00, Discipline Guide

Definitions:

  • Case File: Administrative package containing the originals or copies of the Internal Affairs (IA) investigation or other investigation materials, including all materials related to findings.
  • Command Counseling: A formal non-disciplinary corrective action that involves verbal counseling in response to a sustained finding for a minor policy violation. Command counseling is conducted by the Responsibility Unit (RU) manager or a designee and is documented in a memorandum to IA.
  • Corrective Action Recommendation Memorandum: A form attached to an administrative investigation case file by the RU Manager recommending the corrective action or discipline. The form indicates whether the RU Manager believes a Command Counseling, a Letter of Reprimand, or a Police Review Board is appropriate. The form also ensures the RU Manager considers the individual’s discipline history and uses the Discipline Guide in reaching any recommended discipline.
  • Demotion: Reversion to a lower rank or job classification.
  • Discipline Guide: An advisory document used to provide direction to Responsibility Unit Managers, the Police Review Board (PRB), the Chief of Police, and the Commission in Charge, when determining an appropriate level of discipline.
  • Findings: A conclusion as to whether a member’s conduct violated Bureau directives.
    • Sustained: The preponderance of evidence proves a violation of policy or procedure.
    • Not Sustained: The evidence was insufficient to prove a violation of policy or procedure.
    • Exonerated: The preponderance of evidence proves the member’s conduct was lawful and within policy.
    • Unfounded: The preponderance of evidence proves the allegation was false or devoid of fact or there was not a credible basis for a possible violation of policy or procedure.
  • Findings Cover Sheet: A form attached to an administrative investigation case file by the RU Manager recommending the finding. This form includes sections for the appropriate Assistant Chief, Professional Standards Division (PSD) Captain, and the Independent Police Review (IPR) Director to list whether they concur or controvert the findings, whether more investigation is warranted, whether the case would benefit from a PRB hearing, and/or suggest additional recommendations (e.g., training review, policy review, supervisory review).
  • Letter of Reprimand: A disciplinary letter placed in the member’s personnel file detailing a member’s conduct or performance that violated one or more Bureau directives but does not involve an economic sanction such as a suspension, demotion or termination.
  • Pre-determination meeting: A due-process meeting with the Chief of Police or designee to discuss the involved member’s proposed discipline prior to a final disciplinary decision. This meeting is the member’s opportunity to discuss the case with the Chief or designee, and present any mitigating factors for consideration.
  • Preponderance of the Evidence: The facts and circumstances indicate it is more likely than not that a violation of policy or procedure either occurred or did not occur.
  • Stipulated Discipline: A process by which pre-determined categories of investigations are eligible for agreed upon discipline.
  • Suspension: Removal from work status, without pay, for a specified period of time.
  • Termination: Discharge from Police Bureau employment.

Policy:

1. The purpose of this directive is to provide guidance to members regarding the process for recommending and assigning corrective or disciplinary action when an allegation of a policy violation or misconduct against a member is sustained.

2. In order to maintain public confidence in the ability of the Police Bureau to investigate and properly address legitimate complaints concerning employee conduct and performance, and to ensure internal accountability, a broad range of tools are available to set expectations, issue corrective action, and institute discipline. The Bureau has a responsibility to impose corrective or disciplinary action when warranted by a member’s violation of policy.

3. The Bureau’s philosophy with respect to corrective action and discipline is the same philosophy that is applied to employees who work elsewhere in the City, which is that corrective and disciplinary action are tools available to assist supervisors in working with employees whose behavior or job performance does not meet the expectations associated with the position they hold. Corrective action or discipline can be used to correct behavior, to deter a violation of policies or procedures, and to hold employees accountable for their behavior or performance. Generally speaking, corrective action or discipline is used to put the employee on notice of unacceptable conduct or performance, and give the employee a reasonable opportunity to correct their behavior.

4. Generally, discipline is progressive, beginning with an oral warning or Letter of Reprimand and proceeding to suspension, demotion, or termination. Serious offenses may result in termination, even if there has been no prior warnings, attempts at corrective action or disciplinary action. Serious offenses include, but are not limited to, criminal or other unlawful acts, abuse of authority, theft, untruthfulness, excessive force, failure to follow orders, unlawful discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation, creation of a hostile work environment, or workplace violence and may justify suspension or termination without the necessity of progressive discipline.

5. In certain cases, as defined in City Code 3.20.140, the Bureau and member may both agree to the appropriate disciplinary action to allow for a more timely resolution, i.e., Stipulated Discipline.

6. In all cases, the level and degree of discipline shall be in keeping with the seriousness of the offense, taking into account the circumstances relevant to the case. It is not the purpose of this directive to require an automatic progression of disciplinary measures. Rather, the circumstances of each situation are considered on a case-by-case basis. The Discipline Guide serves to ensure that corrective action and discipline are applied in an impartial and consistent manner.

7. Before the Bureau takes corrective action or disciplinary action, the Bureau or IPR will conduct a thorough investigation to assist it in determining whether the employee, in fact, engaged in misconduct or performance that is contrary to Bureau directives and policies.

8. Members are subject to disciplinary action for cause or just cause. Possible disciplinary actions are identified in Human Resources Administrative Rule 5.01 - Discipline, the Discipline Guide, or the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

9. Counseling, instruction, and training are not considered disciplinary action.

Procedure:

  1. Those responsible for making recommendations on findings and discipline shall refer to the Discipline Guide in accordance with Directive 338.00, Discipline Guide.

2. Development of Proposed Findings and Recommended Discipline.

2.1. RU Manager Responsibilities.

2.1.1. Obtain the member’s discipline history by contacting:

2.1.1.1. The discipline coordinator in PSD for administrative investigations of sworn members.

2.1.1.2. The CRB coordinator in PSD for collision review board (CRB) cases.

2.1.1.3. The BHR business partner in PPB’s personnel division for non-sworn members.

2.1.2. Review and consider the member’s work history including aggravating and mitigating factors as set forth in the Discipline Guide when recommending corrective or disciplinary action.

2.1.3. Make a discipline recommendation and document such on the Findings Cover Sheet and in the Corrective Action Recommendation Memorandum.

2.1.4. Submit the entire packet to IA, including the Findings Cover Sheet and the Corrective Action Recommendation Memorandum, within seven days of receipt of the case file.

2.1.4.1. When submitting the packet to IA, the RU Manager shall also indicate in the Corrective Action Recommendation Memorandum whether the case is eligible for Stipulated Discipline (subject to member’s agreement and final approval by the Chief and the Commissioner in Charge). If the case is eligible for Stipulated Discipline, the RU Manager shall include specific recommended discipline in the Corrective Action Recommendation Memorandum.

2.1.5. RU Managers or designees are not permitted to take any corrective action or discipline prior to being informed by the IA Captain or Discipline Coordinator that the case has been closed.

2.2. IA Captain Responsibilities.

2.2.1. Upon receipt of the RU Manager’s proposed findings, the IA Captain or their designee shall, by the end of the next business day, send a copy of the case file, including the proposed findings and recommended discipline, to the IPR Director and the supervising Assistant Chief for a seven-day concurrent review.

2.2.2. The IA Captain shall review the proposed findings and recommended discipline within seven days of receipt.

2.2.2.1. The IA Captain may controvert the RU manager’s proposed findings and/or recommended discipline. All controverts shall be documented in a memorandum that clearly articulates that the reviewer wishes to controvert and provides an adequate explanation for the writer’s basis for disagreeing with the proposed finding or recommended discipline.

2.3. Supervising Assistant Chief Responsibilities.

2.3.1. The Supervising Assistant Chief shall review the proposed findings and recommended discipline and resubmit to IA within seven days of receipt.

2.3.1.1. The Assistant Chief may controvert the proposed findings and/or recommended discipline. All controverts shall be documented in a memorandum that clearly articulates that the reviewer wishes to controvert and provides an adequate explanation for the writer’s basis for disagreeing with the proposed finding or recommended discipline.

2.4. IPR Director Responsibilities.

2.4.1. The IPR Director will review the proposed findings and recommended discipline and resubmit to IA within seven days of receipt.

2.4.1.1. The IPR Director may controvert the proposed findings and/or recommended discipline. All controverts shall be documented in a memorandum that clearly articulates that the reviewer wishes to controvert and provides an adequate explanation for the writer’s basis for disagreeing with the proposed finding or recommended discipline.

2.5. Controverted Findings and Discipline.

2.5.1. If a proposed finding or recommended discipline of the RU Manager is controverted by the supervising Assistant Chief, the IPR Director, or the IA Captain, the case will be heard by the PRB in accordance with Directive 336.00, Police Review Board.

3. Imposition of Corrective Action or Discipline.

3.1. Command Counseling or Letter of Reprimand.

3.1.1. The IA Captain shall refer all cases where proposed corrective action or discipline is less than suspension to the involved member’s RU Manager to implement the corrective action or discipline.

3.1.2. The IA Captain shall notify the RU Manager and the Discipline Coordinator when the case is closed and the Command Counseling or Letter of Reprimand can be issued.

3.1.3. The RU Manager, in consultation with the Discipline Coordinator, shall prepare the proposed corrective action or discipline and other documentation as appropriate.

3.1.4. The appropriate Assistant Chief shall review the RU Manager’s recommended action and upon approval return the documentation to the Discipline Coordinator.

3.1.5. The Discipline Coordinator shall receive the documentation and coordinate corrective action or discipline with the RU Manager.

3.1.6. Pursuant to city code, involved members may appeal the proposed findings to the Citizen Review Committee (CRC).

3.1.6.1. In such cases, the Chief shall not issue proposed discipline or make recommendations until the CRC has made a final decision, or until after the City Council has made a determination, if the CRC appeal process has resulted in referral of the case to the City Council.

3.1.7. If the proposed corrective action is Command Counseling:

3.1.7.1. The RU Manager shall meet with the member to review the incident and communicate their expectations moving forward.

3.1.7.2. The RU Manager shall outline the expectations in the meeting with the member and document as such in a memorandum.

3.1.7.3. The RU Manager shall forward the Command Counseling memorandum to the Discipline Coordinator.

3.1.7.4. The Command Counseling memorandum shall not include findings that are not sustained and include a debrief. Debriefings shall be documented separately in accordance with Directive 332.00, Administrative Investigations.

3.1.8. If the proposed corrective action is a Letter of Reprimand:

3.1.8.1. The RU Manager shall meet with the member to review the incident and communicate their expectation moving forward.

3.1.8.2. The RU Manager shall serve the member with the letter of proposed discipline.

3.1.8.2.1. The member can request a pre-determination meeting with their supervising Assistant Chief.

3.1.8.2.1.1. Following the meeting, the Assistant Chief shall notify the Discipline Coordinator in writing of the final discipline to be imposed.

3.1.8.3. The Discipline Coordinator shall coordinate with the RU Manager the service of the final Letter of Reprimand.

3.1.9. The Discipline Coordinator shall forward a copy of the Command Counseling memorandum or the proposed and final Letters of Reprimand to the Personnel Division for inclusion in the member’s personnel file.

3.2. Discipline of Suspension or Greater.

3.2.1. All cases in which recommended discipline is suspension or greater will be heard by the PRB. PRB procedures are outlined in Directive 336.00, Police Review Board.

3.2.2. Pursuant to city code, involved members may appeal the PRB’s recommended findings to the CRC.

3.2.2.1. If a member files a timely appeal with the CRC, the Chief shall not issue proposed discipline until the CRC has made a final decision or until after the City Council has made a determination, if the CRC appeal process has resulted in referral of the case to the City Council.

3.2.3. After the close of the CRC appeal window or after the completion of the CRC appeal process, if any, the Discipline Coordinator shall forward the PRB’s recommendation memorandum to the Chief.

3.2.4. The Chief, after consultation with the Police Commissioner, shall provide the Chief’s proposed findings to the Discipline Coordinator and to PSD.

3.2.5. The Discipline Coordinator shall provide the letter of proposed discipline to the RU Manager for delivery to the involved member.

3.2.6. Upon receipt of the letter of proposed discipline, the involved member may request a pre-determination meeting with the Chief.

3.2.6.1. The Chief shall notify the Discipline Coordinator in writing of the final discipline to be imposed following the meeting.

3.2.6.1.1. If the imposed discipline is suspension without pay, the Bureau shall adhere to the following suspension guidelines to ensure that members are held accountable.

3.2.6.1.1.1. Members shall not use accrued vacation time in lieu of suspension, unless authorized by the Chief or their designee.

3.2.6.1.1.2. Suspension of 40 hours or fewer: Suspension will be taken in consecutive increments of time (e.g., 20-hour suspension equals two 10-hour back-to-back work days) according to the member’s schedule. The suspension can carry over into the following pay period, but once the suspension starts, the member shall not be scheduled for work during the period of the suspension.

3.2.6.1.1.3. Suspension of 40 hours or more: Members may choose to take their suspension all at once or schedule the suspension in 40-hour increments in consecutive following months. In other words, someone receiving a 120-hour suspension may serve 40 hours suspension (in consecutive increments of time) in the current month, 40 hours in the following month, and the last 40 hours in the third month. This method allows the member to continue receiving health benefits in accordance with their respective collective bargaining agreements.

3.2.6.2. The Discipline Coordinator shall coordinate the service of the final letter of imposed discipline to the involved member with the RU Manager.

3.2.7. The Discipline Coordinator shall schedule the dates of the suspension or separation with the RU Manager and shall forward the dates to the Fiscal Division.

4. Stipulated Findings and Discipline.

4.1. The following categories of cases are not eligible for stipulated findings and recommended discipline and, if they otherwise meet the criteria for review by the PRB, shall go through PRB review and recommendations:

4.1.1. Cases involving alleged use of excessive force;

4.1.2. Physical injury caused by an officer that requires hospitalization;

4.1.3. Any use of force where the recommended finding is “out of policy;”

4.1.4. Cases involving alleged discrimination, disparate treatment or retaliation;

4.1.5. Reviews of officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths; and

4.1.6. Cases in which the Chief or the Commissioner-in-Charge does not agree to accept the member’s proposed stipulation to findings and recommended discipline.

4.2. The following categories of investigations are eligible for Stipulated Discipline without review by the PRB when the involved member elects, with the concurrence of the Chief and the Commissioner-in-Charge, to accept the proposed findings and recommended discipline of the RU Manager following a full investigation of the alleged misconduct, issuance of investigative findings and concurrence with the findings by IPR, PSD and the member’s Branch Assistant Chief:

4.2.1. First time offenses that fall under Category A through Category D of the Police Bureau Discipline Guide and that are not otherwise excluded above;

4.2.2. Second time offenses that fall under Category A of the Police Bureau Discipline Guide;

4.2.3. First-time, off-duty driving while under the influence offenses that fall under Category E of the Police Bureau Discipline Guide. To be eligible for stipulated discipline for an off-duty driving under the influence offense, there can be no other driving-related violations or charges and the member must comply with all court-ordered conditions of a diversion or delayed prosecution;

4.3. In an investigation involving multiple sustained violations, the violation with the highest category from the Police Bureau Discipline Guide will be used to determine whether the case qualifies for stipulated discipline.

4.4. Stipulated Discipline Request Procedures.

4.4.1. Upon receipt of the case file, including completed Findings Cover Sheets, IA administrative staff shall provide notice to the member and, when applicable, the member’s bargaining unit representative, of the proposed findings and recommended disciplinary action.

4.4.2. After receiving the notice, the member shall have ten calendar days to review the case file and request Stipulated Discipline.

4.4.2.1. If the member requests Stipulated Discipline, they shall provide written notification to the IA Captain and the Discipline Coordinator.

4.4.3. Upon receipt of the request from the member, the Discipline Coordinator shall submit the member’s request and the case file to the Chief for review.

4.4.4. The Chief, in consultation with the Commissioner-in-Charge, shall then have ten calendar days to either accept or reject the Stipulated Discipline proposal.

4.4.4.1. If the Chief or Commissioner-in-Charge does not approve the Stipulated Discipline proposal, the case will revert to its normal review procedure.

4.4.4.2. If the Chief and the Commissioner-in-Charge approve the Stipulated Discipline proposal, the Stipulated Discipline will be imposed without going through any further review process.

History:

  • Originating Directive Date: 10/30/14
  • Last Revision Signed: 03/26/20
    • Effective Date: 04/25/20
    • Next Review Date: 04/25/21

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