UOPD Complaint Resolution Committee seeking undergraduate member
In the spring of last year, the University of Oregon established the Complaint Resolution Committee to oversee complaints brought against University of Oregon Police Department officers. However, the newly-established CRC is still searching for an undergraduate member.
Interim President Scott Coltrane finalized the rest of the CRC membership in late 2014. The mission of the CRC is “to provide recommendations to the Vice President for Finance and Administration to help ensure that complaints regarding the conduct of sworn members of the UOPD and UOPD policies are resolved in a fair, thorough, reasonable, and expeditious manner,” according to its mission statement. The CRC meets at least once a term, and additional meetings will take place when necessary as complaints arise. So far, they have met twice — in the spring and fall terms.
In its procedures, the CRC is clearly defined as holding “an advisory role.” While UOPD conducts the internal investigations, the CRC reviews them to make sure they are fair and timely. The committee gives recommendations to VPFA Jamie Moffitt, who ultimately decides what UOPD’s response will be. Some UO community members believe an advisory role isn’t enough.
ASUO is responsible for recommending the undergraduate student member.
Helena Schlegel, ASUO President, disapproves of the CRC’s format. Schlegel is asking the university to “make their review panel representative of the community and its meetings and decisions transparent to the public.”
“The ASUO currently has no say in either UOPD policy or its internal reviews. We welcome the opportunity to participate meaningfully in police oversight and transparency issues on and off campus,” Schlegel said.
A lack of transparency has been a topic of debate surrounding the CRC. The CRC’s procedures have a clearly defined confidentiality clause that states, “All information received or developed by the CRC or one of its members is strictly confidential and may be disclosed only to the extent expressly authorized by law.” Minutes and agenda are available through public records requests.
The creation of the CRC was an attempt to bring external review into the UOPD’s complaint procedures. Before the CRC was established, complaints were dealt with internally, according the Kelly McIver, spokesman for the UOPD. McIver says the old format is typical of most law enforcement agencies.
The CRC was established so “there would be another external body that would be involved with looking at complaints of serious misconduct and illegal policy,” McIver said.
“I think the biggest advantage is being able to have greater credibility and accountability with the community,” McIver said.
The UOPD has pushed for transparency with other formats, including incorporating more body cameras and hiring a new assistant chief of police in charge of community outreach. That search is still ongoing.
The CRC will meet again during winter term if no new complaints arise.