The murder of George Floyd, in 2020, led cities across the country to examine their public safety practices. In Tigard, we empowered the community to shape our city’s response. Over 500 community members responded by passionately sharing their individual stories and experiences along with their ideas for ensuring public safety remains a trusted and positive force in the Tigard community.
From these community voices rose a number of ideas, including the importance of empowering a community-led board to review public safety practices in Tigard. The idea quickly turned into a reality with the creation of a 16-member Public Safety Advisory Board (PSAB)
Community was centered in every step of the creation of the PSAB. You, the Tigard community, nominated community members to serve on the PSAB. You reviewed the background and experience of the 38 candidates. And, after all of that, you advised the City Council on those community members most qualified to serve on the board.
The result was a group of community members and City employees who represent the diverse voices, life experiences, and needs of our community. Together, they have evaluated the City’s public safety system through the lens of racial equity to improve the lived experiences and safety of everyone in the Tigard community.
Since 2020, they have convened every other week for thoughtful dialogue on a range of topics. The topics were largely selected from the community input that we received after the murder of George Floyd.
The PSAB’s discussions have led to action. Specifically, the board provided eight recommendations to the City Council who will discuss and provide direction on each one.
We have already acted on some of the recommendations. For example, the PSAB felt strongly that the Tigard Police should have a body-worn camera program where every uniformed officer in Tigard wears one all the time. The department acted quickly to implement this PSAB recommendation.
In May 2021, department-wide body-worn cameras were issued. The body-worn cameras are set to automatically turn on in various situations, including any time a taser is activated or a gun is drawn from its holster. This brings additional transparency and peace of mind, both for officers and the community.
This is just one example of the PSAB’s voice leading to a positive change in our public safety practices. Their voice will remain present as the City Council considers each recommendation. I encourage you to review the recommendations and share your thoughts with me. You can read the recommendations at www.tigard-or.gov/your-government/boards-committees/public-safety-advisory-board.
While the PSAB is wrapping up its mandate, our work continues to deliver on our strategic vision to be “an equitable community that is walkable, healthy, and accessible for everyone.” We are guided in these efforts by an Anti-Racism Action Plan that identifies concrete steps to eliminate racism and bias in our organization. Our efforts will be strengthened later this year when we hire the city’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager.
I share my deepest appreciation for each member of the Public Safety Advisory Board: Police Chief Kathy McAlpine; Commander James McDonald; Officer and President of the Tigard Police Officers’ Association Nicholas Nunn; City Attorney Shelby Rihala; Councilor Liz Newton; former Youth Councilor Emilio Calderon; former Municipal Court Judge Michael O’Brien; former President of the Tigard High School Black Student Union, Abdi Mohamoud; former Tigard High School Associated Student Body President and Vice President of the Black Student Union Elise Butera; Licensed Mental Health Professional John Trinh; and Community Representatives Jimmy Brown, John Gerhard IV, Thurman (Lee) Landers, Patty Lofgren, Justin Low, Danny Rauda, Valerie Sasaki, Shaun Stuhldryer, Nick Jarmer, Jeff Mott, and Sheherazade Weyland.
Community voices will remain at the center of our actions. I encourage you to share your voice at my monthly Fireside Chat on Thursday, September 1 at 6:30 p.m., location TBA. You can also add your voice to the conversation by contacting me at email@example.com or 503-810-0269 to share your ideas for action.