Portland Police contract includes retention bonuses, global crisis response training bonus
Portland police officers could get a 13-20% pay raise under a four-year provisional contract, including retention bonuses and pay raises for completing required crisis response training and getting graduate degrees.
The contract does not include a policy on body-worn cameras, but contains a new guide governing police discipline and allows for the expansion of the Portland Street Response program, which sends a mental health worker and paramedic to emergency calls. crisis.
The city and the Portland Police Association are still far apart on whether officers should be allowed to view body camera footage before being questioned or writing police reports.
The contract, which is due to run from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2025, must be approved by city council and a majority of members of the Portland Police Association, which represents 881 officers, detectives, criminalists and sergeants.
City officials did not disclose the expected total cost of the four-year contract to the city.
Under the contract, officers, sergeants, criminalists and detectives will receive a retroactive cost-of-living adjustment of 1.6% to July 1, 2021, as well as ongoing cost-of-living adjustments expected to be between 1 and 5 %.
In addition, all members will receive a 2% crisis response training bonus, plus retention bonuses of $5,000 per month after contract ratification and another retention bonus of $2,000 in 2024. The Specialists non-sworn public safety officers will receive a one-time retention bonus of $3,000. bonus after ratification of the contract.
Additional salary bonuses of 2 to 3% will be granted to officers who have obtained a bachelor’s degree, and up to 5% for those who have a master’s or doctoral degree. In addition, officers will receive 2% bonus for Intermediate Police Certificate Training and 4% for Advanced Police Certificate from the State Public Safety Department of Standards and Training, effective July 1, 2024. .
Additionally, the negotiated contract allows officers who retire to be rehired for one year, with an option to renew for one year at the sole discretion of the Chief of Police. Those rehired would also get a $5,000 recruiting bonus.
In the event that the city’s financial situation deteriorates and revenue declines, the contract calls for the council and union to meet and “discuss the economic impact and by mutual agreement” and find “alternatives to a reduction in manpower,” the contract reads.
It allows for unlimited geographic expansion of the Portland Street Response program in the city, but says the city will not reduce any Portland police stations – whether staffed or unstaffed – as a result of Portland Street Response’s expansion, indicates the contract.
A committee of eight officials from the Portland Police Department, Bureau of Fire and Emergency Communications and union representatives from those bureau members will form to create “integrated public safety protocols” governing the types of service calls that should be handled by street response and rules on appropriate responses. The committee’s recommendations would be presented to the police and fire chiefs and the director of emergency operations for approval as future city policy.
The disciplinary segment of the contract still states that the city must reprimand or discipline an officer in a manner “that is least likely to embarrass the officer,” but adds a clause that the city may publicly provide procedural updates on the status of an investigation. City officials can also make public statements “regarding empathy for a situation” or for the seriousness of a matter, he says.
A new disciplinary guide, or so-called “corrective action” guide, includes education-based remedies for policy violations and categories of violations.
If an officer challenges discipline, the arbitrator is bound by the office’s discipline guide, but the arbitrator may void discipline if the city has not proven a policy violation or reduce the penalty if the arbitrator finds that the policy violation was not properly filed in the new disciplinary guide.
Additionally, if the union challenges an officer’s discipline, only the union requests an arbitrator from the state board – a change from current practice that gives both the city and the union a say in the job to select an arbitrator from a list of five names provided by the State Employment Relations Board, says the negotiated contract.
The guide defines the levels of discipline. A would be the lowest, resulting in either letters of reprimand or advice for minor infractions of administrative policy and conduct such as being late, while levels B, C and D would include misconduct that could result in suspension without pay but not necessarily a dismissal. This could include the use of extra-political force intended to control “a resistant subject”, but not intended to cause pain or injury. Level E would warrant the harshest discipline, dismissal. At Level E, a felony conviction, domestic violence, lying, public bribery for profit, improper use of the policy of lethal force, or a material violation in the use of deadly force and intentional abuse of police authority on the basis of protected class status would warrant dismissal, absent mitigating factors.
“I would like to thank both parties to this collective bargaining for the hard work they have done to bring this contract to an end. It is important to me that we are able to attract and retain quality police officers and that we have a discipline guide that ensures our officers are held accountable for their actions,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioner of police, in a statement. “We have also agreed to an approach to develop and expand Portland Street Response in a way that enables an integrated and appropriate public safety response, including responding to 911 calls for people in mental health crisis. These achievements are achieved through this new agreement.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who has championed the Portland Street Response program and its expansion, said the contract allows for the expansion of the street response program citywide and creates a “clear guide to discipline fair to ensure accountability for police misconduct.
“I promised the people of Portland that we were going to do this contract differently. Over the past 3 years, we’ve received significant community input, provided as much transparency as labor law allows, hired legal counsel external specialist in police union contracts, and now we have real change,” she said in a statement. “While no single contract negotiation brings all the changes I would personally like see, I’m proud that my office’s deep commitment has led to a better process and better results.”
Heidi Brown, the city’s chief assistant attorney, and the city’s hired chief negotiator, Steven Schuback, will hold an online video Q&A at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The city council will take public testimony on the contract on February 17 and vote the following week.
The union held information sessions for its members on Sunday and Monday. The union will send ballots to its members on Wednesday and count the votes on February 15.
City negotiators opened the talks in January 2021, calling it a “time for change.” They called for new training requirements for officers seeking promotion, greater leeway for city officials to speak publicly about alleged misconduct, performance reviews that can lead to disciplinary action, a new discipline guide negotiated and limits on police overtime.
City attorneys had proposed a new disciplinary guide for officer misconduct that would bind a state arbitrator and include a restorative option such as enhanced training or community service as potential remedies. The union sought to address what it described as “the catastrophic recruitment and retention issues facing our police ranks” so that police can respond to a significant increase in shootings and homicides in the city.
There are currently 101 sworn vacancies in the Police Bureau, which has an authorized strength of 882 members.
Negotiations over contract terms have begun amid increased calls for major police reforms following an unprecedented social justice movement sparked by the May 25, 2020 killing of George Floyd, a black man killed after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.
Floyd’s videotaped death sparked nearly seven months of protests on the streets of Portland, with many protesters calling for defunding the police. City commissioners slashed $27 million from the police bureau’s budget from the previous fiscal year and eliminated several units, including its gun violence reduction team and transit division.
The city also passed a ballot measure in November 2020 to create a community board to investigate police misconduct. But that was not part of those talks, the city’s chief negotiator said. The city expects to negotiate on the future community oversight board once a committee decides on its structure and composition.
Meanwhile, the legislature approved Senate Bill 621 in an attempt to prevent the voter-approved measure from being challenged in negotiations.
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