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Approved Minutes - 2021-03-09 Special c4 CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES V 0 March 9, 2021 OREGOr� 1. CALL TO ORDER Mayor Buck called the Special City Council meeting to order at 5:38 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9, 2021. The meeting was held virtually via Zoom. 2. ROLL CALL AND MAYOR'S WELCOME Present: Mayor Buck and Councilors Wendland, Verdick, Rapf, Mboup, Manz, and Nguyen Staff Present: Martha Bennett, City Manager; Kari Linder, City Recorder; Charity Taylor, Management Analyst; Megan Phelan, Assistant City Manager; Dale Jorgensen, Police Chief; Clayton Simon, Police Captain; Jay Weitman, Police Sergeant Others Present: Bill de la Cruz, Facilitator; Lillian Tsai, Facilitator; Tara Cooper, Facilitator; Sara Spiers, Notetaker; Adriane Bollinger, Notetaker; Diane Odeh, Notetaker; Jensey Burkett, Notetaker; Jordan Parente, Notetaker; May Swihart, Notetaker Mayor Buck welcomed everyone and said the gathering was to discuss how the City worked together with its neighbors and the Police Department to ensure a safe community for anyone enjoying the city in any aspect, regardless of demographics and physical characteristics. A variety of perspectives were held on tonight's topic and it was not easy to discuss or to articulate an opinion. He asked the attendees to be vulnerable, courageous, voice their story and truth, and respect others as they did the same. 3. COMMUNITY DIALOG OVERVIEW Martha Bennett, City Manager, noted 113 people were in attendance and expressed her thanks to them. She provided the background leading up to the meeting, noting the City's mission was to make Lake Oswego a great place to work, live, and visit for absolutely every person. The City had been working for several years to become more inclusive and to provide services that created opportunity for everyone. Last summer, repeated evidence showed that systemic racism persisted in law enforcement throughout the country. In June 2020, Council directed staff to create a community dialog to discuss systemic racism and how the Lake Oswego Police Department City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 1 of 9 March 9, 2021 (LOPD) could be better for every person, and tonight's meeting was the kickoff of that process. Facilitators with specific expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) would lead smaller groups in discussions. Also, a deeper understanding of the internal workings of the LOPD was hoped to be gained by talking and listening to the people who worked there. Focus groups outside of tonight's meeting would discuss people's experiences and expectations for law enforcement in order to provide qualitative data from the perspective of those who have interacted with the LOPD. Staff would then work with Council to clarify its vision for public safety, followed by the creation of a specific action plan to address the issues learned from the dialog. The City was deeply committed to evaluating the systems, structures, policies, procedures, processes, and practices of the City and the LOPD to build trust and relationships, especially with people who had been historically marginalized. 4. FACILITATOR INTRODUCTIONS Lillian Tsai, Facilitator, stated she was an immigrant from Malaysian Borneo and a naturalized citizen. After 25 years in the global communications high-tech industry, she started a company called TsaiComms about 18 years ago, and for the last 15 years, she had been a consultant, a coach, a facilitator, a trainer, and a speaker on topics like intercultural communications, DEI, and belonging. She had worked with law enforcement, corrections departments, cities, counties, states, and federal agencies. Most recently she facilitated a dialog with the Lake Oswego School District DEI Committee in 2020. Tara Cooper, Facilitator, stated her background was higher education and K-12 student support, in which she had spent 20 years working with underrepresented populations in navigating systems, increasing access, and supporting them in participating in these systems to the fullest of their ability. About four years ago, she began doing consulting work in DEI and community building. She often worked with organizations looking to advance DEI in their workplaces, and also with organizations interested in building stronger relationships and bridges with the communities they served. She enjoyed the type of work to be done tonight in community engagement, creating spaces for people to share the multiplicity of perspectives, and to deeply listen to the perspectives of others. Bill de la Cruz stated he had been facilitating conversations like the one tonight as his profession for over 20 years, and had worked in a variety of areas including health care, policing, education, and business to study the impacts of biases, stereotypes, and judgments through the lens of how systemic racism and bias impacted relationships and various systems in the country today. Tonight would start the process of considering community policing in Lake Oswego through a series of facilitated questions in the breakout rooms with the community, Mayor, and City Councilors to hear why this work was important to them and what they wanted to accomplish. Afterward, the larger group would gather again to hear reflections from Council members and Mayor. A number of focus groups would also go into more detail and have deeper conversations. Note takers in every breakout session would capture the thoughts and questions shared about community policing and how to move forward with the work as a City and a community. The conversation was challenging for the entire nation as it moved into the trial of the George Floyd murder and showed the importance of the topic. The meeting would lead with race because it was shown that race played a role in policing in the nation. It was important for a successful conversation to hear multiple perspectives from those in the meeting, to create a level of City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 2 of 9 March 9, 2021 acceptance, and to realize that not everyone would agree, yet everyone was a member of the community. He asked attendees to listen, to hear, and to not react by immediately speaking after hearing something, but to allow it to percolate a minute to see what was underlying, especially if it produced an emotional charge or a judgement. He spoke to the meaning of institutional racism in policing, which involved a tolerance of attitudes and working practices that functioned to disadvantage people of color (POC). It did not mean that every police officer was prejudiced or racist or that no POC ever received good service, but rather that something was embedded in criminal justice practices that caused systemic injustice. He encouraged the attendees to embrace and to really think about how to keep people engaged and to not demean, denigrate, or cancel out opinions that differed. 5. COUNCIL REMARKS Mayor Buck spoke to the City Council's mission, noting the topic of community policing was a primary goal this year. All members of Council and the community had a wide variety of perspectives on this important issue, and each would introduce themselves. For him, a community-based approach to policing was important because it involved everyone. An interaction with a public safety official was typically the result of a sequence of various events and factors, and consideration of those events illuminated a perspective of the role that community played in the way police officers were utilized. Public safety functioned as a response from the community. A community-based approach was proactive, preventative, educational, and holistic. It worked to ensure that City interactions with the public were responsive and appropriate to individual needs, along with resources that are proportional to the circumstances, and that City policies, practices, resources, and advocacy were aimed at prevention, equity, and neighborly care. He was present to listen with open ears and an open mind with no expectations other than a desire to hear everyone with no judgment. He expressed gratitude for everyone for helping to convene the forum and to have this conversation. Councilor Nguyen recognized the difficulty of tonight's conversation and said he was glad to have it. It took courage for people to attend the meeting and to share their experiences. He recognized that for many it might be the first time sharing publicly, and he wanted to dedicate the time to honor their experiences and to listen. He wanted the people in the community to share their personal experiences without judgment. Councilor Manz stated she was present not only because she was a City Councilor, but also because she was a part of the community, a word she had heard repeatedly in people's opening statements. The police, the fire department, and everyone joining the meeting today were a part of the community. Community was the very reason why she decided to run for office. Within the community, many things had been done over the years, step-by-step, to show people that the City could get things done. This dialog around community policing would be the hardest thing ever attempted. The work was heavy and serious and could be joyful and uplifting, but also could leave one drained and sad. She was delighted and honored to be a part of this community policing dialog. She wanted from the bottom of her heart to sit, listen, learn, and allow the attendees' voices to be heard. Councilor Wendland said he was very happy to finally reach this point. Discussions on the launch of the dialog on community policing had been taking place for many months, and he was City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 3 of 9 March 9, 2021 excited to have many people on the call, though he wished it could be in-person. He looked forward to hearing from the community and deeply listening. The community was a wonderful place to live and had wonderful City services, including the Police Department. Any organization should always be reviewing what it was doing and how it could improve. The dialog tonight was providing that opportunity and would help the City make continuous improvements in Lake Oswego's police services, to provide a safe, inviting, and tolerant community for everyone. It would not be an easy journey, but he was looking forward to it, and believed the city was fortunate to have a Police Department willing to join the conversation and move forward as part of the community. Councilor Verdick noted that it was an important step for everyone to be able to come together as a community and as individuals so all could become stronger as one. Community policing was important to her because of the focus on community involvement and values and the problem solving and collaboration that it brought. It had the potential to help the City and the Police Department to strengthen best practices, understand where improvements were needed, or where things might be missing. The process, beginning tonight, provided the opportunity to come together to listen, learn, and to seek better understanding from each other. People had different perspectives on community policing, and she hoped the process would bring the community together with a better understanding of each other. She thanked everyone for attending and for putting themselves out there. It was not an easy process, but was a very important one. Councilor Rapf expressed his excitement about the dialog and believed nothing but great things would result when everyone talked and listened. Reflecting on the great sports teams in the country, he noted they were tied together with a single element: constantly considering their strengths and weaknesses. They tried to improve their strengths and get rid of their weaknesses. He was present tonight because he, like others, wanted to improve the already great community. He felt emotional and was excited about that. His purpose was to listen, hear, and learn from those present, because they were who he served. Councilor Mboup stated he was also an immigrant and had come from a country whose name meant "our boat." When people talked in Senegal, they said, "We are in the same boat." People were aware of his position on the topic tonight, and that it was not only necessary to review the police, but also that the community and the police needed to grow. The meeting was not to chastise the police, nor to view it as "us versus them." It was personal to him because for far too long, people who looked like him were the victims of police violence and police brutality. That was a fact. Yesterday was the beginning of the George Floyd trial, but there were many George Floyds. Most of the time, Lake Oswego's police did good things, but this meeting was to determine how to move forward. He based his judgment on certain schools of research, one known as distributive justice, which was for equality before control and sanctions. The second was called procedural justice or fair treatment during contact, and it raised questions about what could be done to legitimize the police as well as other institutions. At the heart of this work was the idea that by creating and maintaining trust, the police could earn and deserve their legitimacy. He wanted equality before police action to be the result of this intervention, so that he would be treated the same as anyone else. The second was the quality of the treatment the individual received from the police, which was the source of trust. Third was trust in the fair treatment by the police which would lead the public to confer legitimacy to the police. Finally, when individuals confer legitimacy to the police, they would obey more easily and would be more likely to cooperate with agents of City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 4 of 9 March 9, 2021 the criminal justice system. He would provide the bibliography on the research to anyone who would like it. He thanked everyone and hoped the debate would not be subjective, that people would have the courage to agree to disagree and to be kind. 6. POLICE DEPARTMENT OVERVIEW Dale Jorgensen, Police Chief, stated he was honored to be a part of the discussion and was looking forward to the conversation over the many months the dialog would take. He had worked for the City of Lake Oswego for 23 years, the last 2% years as Police Chief. Each police department across the nation was formed and operated a bit differently, and each had their own character, makeup, and identity. The LOPD operated from values that had been around longer than he had, like their motto of "No call too small," or one incorporated recently that addressed striving to be the most reasonable in the room when decisions were being made. The Police Department could improve and do better and, to be honest and frank, as a profession, the police needed to do better. Chief Jorgensen went on to add that the LOPD was made up of about 70 members, and had several divisions with differing responsibilities. It was unique even in the metro area, and was fortunate to have its own dispatch center called LOCOM. LOCOM conducted dispatches not only for the LOPD, but also for the communities of West Linn and Milwaukie, and had about 18 dedicated dispatchers. A Records Department employed three records clerks who processed all of the police reports, citations, and other paperwork. Three administrative staff helped support LOPD in certification, evidence management, and purchasing. Three Community Service Officers enforced City Code and helped with animal control. About 43 sworn police officers made up the LOPD, and of those, 30 were assigned to the Patrol Division, divided into three shifts and, at any given time, usually three officers and one supervisor worked a shift. The Patrol Division answered calls from the community, conducted routine patrols, made traffic stops, took alarm calls, and investigated crimes. The Traffic Division consisted of three officers who enforced traffic laws, investigated crashes, and worked special details throughout the city. The Detective Division investigated cases that would be too time consuming or complex for the patrol officers, and most of those cases were person crimes or serious property crimes. Two School Resource Officers (SROs)were currently assigned to the schools, and included an adult resource officer who helped bridge the gap between members of the community in need and local resources or social services. Two officers were assigned to the Training Division, and their responsibilities were to make sure the LOPD was updated on the profession's best practices and on case law that regulated what and how to do things. The Command Staff consisted of himself, Clayton Simon as Captain, two lieutenants, and a local manager. He presented statistics from last year, noting that even with COVID-19, the LOPD had over 21,000 interactions or incidents with the community, and those incidents were either calls for service from community members, or traffic stops. The frontline officers interacted an average of over 575 times with community members, the Dispatch Center answered over 125,000 calls from the three communities it served, and 99 percent of those calls were answered in 10 seconds or less by a real person. Chief Jorgensen and his team were looking forward to listening, and were eager to hear of the experiences of the community with LOPD officers, especially those people who have been historically marginalized. He recognized that systems were in place that had, unfairly and with bias, created fear within those marginalized communities in their interactions with the police. City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 5 of 9 March 9, 2021 Second, the LOPD wanted to learn from those experiences and to look for gaps to close, so that everyone who lived, worked, played, or came through the city felt welcome and safe. It was important that the services the LOPD provided were free of any systemic racism that had been built-in over time, and to identify those things that might not align with the community's values. Third would be to implement the changes that the City Council would adopt at the end of the process. The LOPD as an organization wanted to constantly strive to better itself and should always be looking at doing the next right thing and to take advantage of the feedback it received from the community in order to improve. He spoke for the LOPD in stating that they were eager for this journey and ready to get to work. Two LOPD members, Captain Smith and Sergeant Jay Weitman were present tonight to go into the discussion groups to listen to the community. 7. COMMUNITY DISCUSSION GROUPS The three Community Discussion Groups met from 6:22 p.m. — 7:25 p.m. via Zoom breakout rooms. Council took a break from 7:25 p.m. — 7:30 p.m. and resumed the meeting at 7:31 p.m. 8. DIALOG DEBRIEF Councilor Verdick expressed thanks to her group, noting it meant a lot to listen and hear their concerns and questions. They all provided thoughtfulness and transparency. Some themes she took away from the conversation were that transparency could be better within the LOPD, especially around hiring and training practices. Recommendations were made to help ensure a screening for bias, which considered not just current practices for training, but also the history of the LOPD. A request was made for the police to get out of their vehicles and engage more with the public to get to know people. The City, as well as the LOPD, could do more around communication and to acknowledge the perception that Lake Oswego was not welcoming to all. It was important to share the City's goals and what it was doing to ensure a welcoming community. Finally, a concern was expressed that the City was often not blunt enough about racism that existed within the country and within the community. The City needed to make sure the issues were acknowledged, and to do everything necessary to have discussions to prevent bad occurrences between the police and the people. The communication now was a good first step and needed to continue. Councilor Manz noted it was interesting how many of the same topics were touched on in her group as in Councilor Verdick's. Some differences included a discussion of the militarization of police insofar as how they dress, communication, and actionable items to work on. She appreciated the quote that said that systemic racism was like a woven cloth and needed to be taken apart in order to be an anti-racist. Some members believed the language around systemic racism needed to be stronger, meaning that it should be called what it is, and harder work needed to be done to be anti-racist. Beliefs were expressed that more diversity was needed in hiring practices, such as hiring bilingual folks. Also recommended for discussion was the history of policing, not only in the country, but in Oregon. Getting officers out of their cars and into the crowd came up several times from several different people. One participant asked how success would be measured, and to keep that in mind as the process went along. Another wanted to hear more of the experiences of the BIPOC community regarding their experiences with a traffic stop, or City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 6 of 9 March 9, 2021 from situations where they felt circumstances could have gone a different way. She found it interesting because white folks did not often get to hear that perspective. Many ways existed to consider things in a unique way. Councilor Mboup stated his group was pleased to have the former Chief of Police there, as well as some college professors. Discussed most was training regarding bias, with some asking for the percentage of training against biases versus the percentage of training for target shooting and other activities. Most believed the Police Chief was really someone who listened to them. Some discussion was had about words such as "judgement," with people denying they were judging, but recognizing the importance of judging the police. It was not negative, but rather referred to judging the police's work. People also denied being prejudiced, but the issue was not about prejudice, but rather about systemic racism. Prejudice was intentional and was meant to hurt people. Also discussed were important aspects of community policing like pedestrian safety because, in some areas of town, people drove too fast and more police presence was needed. Talk also addressed the demilitarization of the police, and that the LOPD did not need army weaponry. It was suggested that the motto, "No call too small" could also be a problem for consideration. Councilor Wendland noted some of the topics mentioned so far were also discussed in his group. Common themes were the various connections between the LOPD and the community, getting armored up, and understanding the danger of being a police officer doing traffic stops, which necessitated protection. Someone asked if the police wanted to be like Mayberry RFD or like Cops. Also discussed was how police officers perceived themselves and how to make community policing meet people's expectations. Recommendations were made to have more barbecues and other events and activities with the police officers. It would set the tone for familial gatherings, would take some of the edges off of the police officers, and would provide a person- to-person connection. One idea was to have more police officers at DEI events, which would be a very good way of bringing people together and putting names to faces, so perhaps at the next traffic stop, a connection could be made. Questions were asked about traffic enforcement ticket revenue and whether it was needed for the budget, if quotas existed for traffic stops, and whether they were done to change behavior. Also heard was how people were experiencing a good response rate when calling the police, which was a high priority for the community. Lastly, a suggestion was made to not have the LOPD as gatekeepers, referring to the times a junky car or a POC was automatically stopped. The group was informative and had a rich discussion. He appreciated the input and sharing. Councilor Nguyen noted that many items of discussion in his group were already mentioned, so he would try to not repeat them. Some highlights of his group's conversation regarded the discussion about what community policing would look like, referring to the mindset of the officers. Questions were asked if they should be peace officers or militant. A comment was made that sometimes when a police officer stepped out of a car, they were dressed in combat gear, and a question was asked about why police officers had their hands on their guns as they stepped out of their vehicles.A recommendation was made for an independent review commission to interview the police and for a discussion about transparency. Also suggested was police involvement at events, which could help foster a partnership mindset between the community and the police. He noted it was only the tip of the iceberg, but believed it was an excellent start to a discussion. City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 7 of 9 March 9, 2021 Councilor Rapf noted that Councilors Nguyen and Wendland stated his main points. Some topics not touched upon concerned helping the current LOPD to have proper positions in place that would help other parts of the community, such as resource officers or those specialized in dealing with mental health or drug abuse, who were possibly not armed. He appreciated the idea of police leading and sponsoring community and cultural events, which was distilled from the overarching theme of the necessity of relationships between the community and the police, talking, and for the police knowing the names of people that live in the city. From his group's conversation he developed an appreciation for the LOPD and the great things they did, as well as for all the great ideas the community had to make the Police Department so much better. One comment said that living in Lake Oswego had been a choice because it was a safe place, the police were great, and they helped the community. The group had great ideas on how to make everybody better at what they did. Mayor Buck stated he was in a group with Councilor Mboup, and appreciated all those who spoke up and participated. One issue raised was the perception of racial profiling in traffic stops, and a request was made for more data and transparency around that topic. Also heard probably the most was the role that all community members played regarding their biases, and how those biases influenced the ecosystem of law enforcement and their interactions with certain members of the community. Regarding the "No call too small" notion, discussion took place about community members acting as gatekeepers standing in opposition to various projects that would be perceived as bringing in outsiders or others who were perceived by certain members of the community as not belonging in Lake Oswego. The theme was to look inward at oneself when having the conversation about police and biases. Many experiences were shared about first-hand interactions with the police being very positive and, even in interactions that had not been good experiences, they had talked through it and the experience was positive, helpful, and very professional. A lot of emphasis was placed on training and education, and especially on interactions with people with behavioral issues and disabilities, and the importance of deescalating. A point was made that officers often did not know what they were responding to, and concern was expressed about how people wanted the police to respond to family members. Overall, the discussion was hopeful and positive for solutions that would provide a safe community, and for the ability to work together with one another and with the LOPD to make the community better. 9. COMMUNITY POLICING NEXT STEPS Ms. Bennett expressed her appreciation of the energy, expertise, and engagement given by so many in Lake Oswego. So much civic capacity existed in the community, it made her very optimistic about the ability to make positive changes. A recording of the meeting, except for the breakout sessions, would be posted to the City's YouTube channel. A follow-up meeting would be held to provide a summary and further information, and plans would be made for the focus groups coming up. The goal was to have the focus groups be a place for people to share their lived experiences, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The focus groups would be confidential, but it was difficult to guarantee that 100 percent. Many questions in the breakout sessions already had answers so, after tonight's event, staff would assemble a document addressing the major questions raised and their answers. For example, the hiring process could be explained, and then the participants could give feedback on whether it met the community's expectations. An open session would be held with Council to discuss police calls for service. Starting next week, an City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 8 of 9 March 9, 2021 assessment would be done inside the LOPD through the eyes of those who worked there. Community focus groups would be held in April. Also, a session would be scheduled with Council to address specific data points, such as the calls received by the police and what the state's data showed on traffic stops of POC in Lake Oswego. Staff was optimistic about this process, and their goal was to create a specific action plan as a result of the commitment to have the LOPD do a great job for everyone in Lake Oswego regardless of skin color, ethnic heritage, gender, or other distinguishing characteristic. Staff, as public servants, were committed to high-quality municipal service to every person because a better community was created when everyone had equal access to opportunity. Council was committed to that goal as well. Chief Jorgensen stated how incredibly exciting it was to listen to the community's feedback, ideas, and brainstorming. The meeting today was an example of the concept of community policing where the community came together to discuss policing. Everyone had a role in the process. He had a desire to ensure the LOPD rooted out anything that kept it from giving great service to all members of the community regardless of their race, social status, ethnicity, gender, and abilities. He looked forward to the journey and was aware the LOPD shared that belief and looked forward to answering questions. 10. ADJOURNMENT Mayor Buck adjourned the meeting at 7:58 p.m. Respectfully submitted, KUL / Kari Linder, City Recorder Approve by the City Council on April 6, 2021 J t eph M. Buck, Mayor City Council Special Meeting Minutes Page 9 of 9 March 9, 2021