Contact: Mike Westling
Salem, Ore.—Legislation that provides the tools needed to end law enforcement profiling in Oregon through data collection, training, and accountability passed the Oregon House Wednesday afternoon. The bill will next move to the Oregon Senate for approval. Once passed by both houses, the bill will need Governor Kate Brown’s signature before becoming law.
House Bill 2355 will require law enforcement departments to begin collecting and retaining standardized demographic data on all officer-initiated pedestrian and traffic stops. The bill also requires mandatory training in cultural competency and implicit bias for all state and local law enforcement officers in Oregon and establishes a statewide system to hold law enforcement departments accountable for profiling practices.
This bipartisan legislation builds upon years of hard work by community groups and law enforcement officials across the state and the legislature’s passage of HB 2002 in 2015, which clearly defined and prohibited profiling in Oregon and established the Oregon Law Enforcement Profiling Task Force.
“Although Oregon officially banned law enforcement profiling in 2015, the reality is that profiling persists in communities across the state,” said Kayse Jama, executive director of Unite Oregon. “Today, the Oregon House backed up words with action, voting to provide the tools required to track and ultimately end profiling in our state and make our neighborhoods safer. With the support of law enforcement and legislators from both parties, we look forward to the work of tracking and ultimately ending profiling in Oregon.”
Collecting better data in Oregon will institute a best practice already in place in law enforcement agencies around the country. According to the ACLU, 22 states, 4,000 cities—including over half of the 50 largest—and 6,000 police departments are now collecting stop and search data. In Oregon, the Oregon State Police and the Corvallis Police Department have begun to collect data on profiling, but there is currently no statewide requirement or system to do so.
“This legislation will allow Oregon communities to expect better and more transparent policing, make sure our officers are trained to understand the root causes and best ways to prevent implicit bias, and take significant steps to eliminate law enforcement profiling in our state,” said Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. “I’m especially thankful to the members of Oregon’s law enforcement community who helped us develop this important bill.”
“Police profiling still happens in Oregon, it’s difficult to stop when we don’t know exactly where, when, or how often it is occurring,” said Representative Jennifer Williamson. “By collecting data on profiling and setting up a structure of accountability, we’re getting closer to ensuring that Oregonians are never targeted by law enforcement because of their race, ethnicity, or gender identity.”
More information about the legislative proposal to end profiling is available here: http://bit.ly/end_profiling