The city aims to start selecting community members this month for a new commission that will be tasked with reviewing public safety issues in Tigard.
The idea for the Public Safety Transformation Commission, which is one part of an anti-racist action plan the city is drafting, evolved from community conversations about racism following the May killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
According to a draft document outlining the framework of the commission, the group will identify areas of focus and then submit a work plan to the City Council. Working independently from the council, the commission will be able to set its own priorities and add, change or remove items from the plan.
“When the commission reaches consensus on a policy or practice that is within the authority of the chief of police or city manager to implement, the decision will be implemented as soon as practicable,” the draft reads, adding that, for action items requiring council approval, the commission will make a recommendation to the councilors.
The draft lays out many potential public safety topics for consideration by the commission. Broadly, they include accountability and transparency, use of force, hiring and human resources, and how resources are deployed.
The commission will comprise 15 members, according to the draft, including the police chief or designee, a Tigard Police Officer’s Association representative, the city attorney, the municipal court judge, a Tigard High School Black Student Union representative, the youth city councilor, a city councilor, a mental health professional, a representative from Tigard’s business community and six Tigard residents.
During the Aug. 11 City Council meeting, councilors agreed that the Tigard residents on the commission will be selected by a hybrid process in which a pool of residents who have applied will be selected by the community, and the council will have the final say in who is appointed to the commission from that pool.
The council also discussed the idea of compensating the community members on the commission to offset the time commitment they would be making. Instead of direct payments to the members, though, councilors decided that the city should help with things like childcare, transportation and meals to make participation more accessible for those members.
The city collected community input on the draft between mid-July and early August. Of the 132 people who provided input, 81 percent supported the creation of the commission, Nicole Hendrix, a senior management analyst for the city, told the council. Of those, six people volunteered to serve on the commission.
Council President John Goodhouse emphasized that, going forward, the city should include a strong education component about the purpose and goals of the commission.
“It’s kind of like a 12-step; you can’t really start it until you acknowledge you have a problem,” he said. “If we haven’t really detailed the problem, then half the population isn’t coming along with us. The first part is we need to bring the population along with it, understanding what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”