HB 2002 brings together law enforcement and communities around data collection, improved reporting, increased accountability
Salem, Ore. – The Oregon Senate approved legislation Wednesday to ban the practice of profiling as a law enforcement tactic with a vote of 28 to 1. HB 2002 will now head to Governor Kate Brown’s desk for her signature.
HB 2002 has received bipartisan support in both chambers of the Oregon legislature and has the backing of the Center for Intercultural Organizing, the NAACP, Basic Rights Oregon, Oregon Association Chiefs of Police, and the Oregon Sheriff’s Association.
“Profiling corrodes the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” said House Speaker Tina Kotek. “To eliminate profiling, we need to face it head on, recognize it and provide the means to report and address the problem when it occurs.”
“We need this law to protect the credibility of the policing function, because it is vital to our functioning civic life,” according to Chief Sponsor Representative Lew Frederick. “When people avoid calling the police because they fear them, the breakdown of civic order is almost as scary as the gun I faced during a nonsensical traffic stop. Imagine your reaction if you were pulled over in your car, or stopped while walking, for no discernible reason. Then imagine that it happens again and again. If you can imagine that, you’ve imagined a piece of our world. Profiling degrades the quality of our everyday lives. It needs to be illegal. It needs to stop.”
Currently in Oregon, each law enforcement agency is left to decide their own definition and process on profiling. Profiling occurs in every part of the state and impacts many different communities, and until now there has been no coordinated state policy to address it.
“The bottom line: profiling doesn’t make our communities safer,” said Senator Alan Bates. “By defining, tracking, and addressing profiling when it occurs, we can protect the freedoms of Oregonians while supporting our law enforcement community.”
HB 2002 defines profiling and clearly bans law enforcement from using profiling as a tactic in Oregon. The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to collect complaint data about profiling and establishes a process for accepting and addressing profiling complaints.
“Profiling occurs daily in many forms across Oregon, making those who are targeted by police often feel like prisoners in their own communities,” said Kayse Jama, Executive Director of the Center for Intercultural Organizing. “By defining profiling and establishing a consistent process for recording complaints, we can help build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. This legislation is an important step toward ending a systemic problem, but it does not mean our work is done. Actual change has to be felt on the ground."
"To believe that there is no profiling within our state is to ignore the daily struggles that our minority communities go through because of profiling,” said Ricardo Lujan, Board Member for Oregon Action. “I encourage everyone to challenge themselves and become more aware of this issue and how it affects our neighbors. It is important for Oregon to make a change so that our neighbors, friends and families can feel safer."
In addition, the bill would also create the Law Enforcement Profiling Work Group, a new entity tasked with proposing a process to identify patterns or practices of profiling, identifying methods to address and correct these practices and biased policies, and preparing a report identifying any additional statutory changes that are needed to achieve these goals.
“Profiling has no place in professional policing – it is discriminatory and ineffective,” said Kevin Campbell, Executive Director of the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police. “Law enforcement leaders here in Oregon continue to work to ensure that we have the most professional and just policing culture in the nation, to take reports of profiling seriously and to take action to make our communities safer. We’re supporting HB 2002 because we recognize that strong partnerships, better data, and additional options for citizens to file concerns and complaints all help law enforcement officers do their jobs.”
If you would like to interview Kayse Jama, Ricardo Lujan, or Kevin Campbell, please contact Mike Westling at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 498-8161 to coordinate.