- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Portland police are partially in compliance with policy, training and oversight reforms.

A report by federal justice officials says the department has been mostly compliant, but that Portland police are unjustified in hesitating to send specially trained officers to mental health calls, the Oregonian reported (http://bit.ly/1P8F55Y).

The U.S Department of Justice stepped in at the department after an investigation in 2012 revealed a pattern or practice of excessive force being used against individuals with mental health issues.

Portland police, according to the report, were worried about not having enough resources for high-risk cases if Enhanced Crisis Intervention officers are sent on every mental health call.

“The problem with (the Portland Police Bureau’s) stated concerns is that there is no data to support them,” the report said.

This report also says supervisors weren’t writing required reviews of high-profile shootings and that there were significant issues in keeping track of data in instances where force is used.

“The city has made progress but the community needs to see more on some key issues of accountability and oversight,” said T. Allen Bethel, co-chair of the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform.

Police Chief Larry O’Dea says he’s pleased the department is following most of the requirements and that the report will help achieve full compliance.

“We as a community expect an improved relationship with our police and true sensitivity in how we respond to people in mental health crisis,” said Mayor Charlie Hales in a statement. “This agreement is not a ‘compliance exercise.’ It is real change, which I will continue to lead.”

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com

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