Leading with Race: Lake Oswego Dialog on Community Policing
In alignment with Council initiatives for 2021, the City sought candid input about community policing from all who live, work and visit Lake Oswego. Members of the Lake Oswego Police Department (LOPD) also participated in the dialog. We are grateful to everyone who took part in this important conversation; your feedback and lived experiences are integral to the City’s ongoing dedication to prioritizing equity in law enforcement. The following is a timeline of the dialog process and next steps.
Issue Statement – February 2021
Based on feedback from City Councilors, Staff developed a statement to reflect the City’s commitment to equitable outcomes in community policing:
“The City of Lake Oswego is committed to providing high quality services to every person in our community. As a local government that provides law enforcement services, we believe systemic racism needs to be evaluated in law enforcement nationwide. And, we are part of that system. We are undertaking these community dialogs to identify ways to strengthen how our police department collaborates with all of the people in our community to provide public safety.
We will thoroughly evaluate our systems, structures, policies, procedures, processes, and practices with the goal of building public trust and relationships, especially with the people in our community who have been marginalized.
As part of that process, we will seek feedback from the community, police officers, and elected officials, about their expectations for law enforcement in Lake Oswego. This feedback will enable us to strengthen our best practices and identify areas where we can adapt and improve. Our vision is of a Police Department that is committed to providing equitable enforcement and outcomes and which does not make decisions based on a person's race so that all people in Lake Oswego feel safe and welcome.”
During this time the City also announced the community policing facilitation team: Bill de la Cruz, Tara Cooper and Lillian Tsai.
Virtual Community Kickoff – March 2021
This event allowed Council and the LOPD to learn more about the community’s expectations around policing in Lake Oswego and provided an opportunity for intentional interaction among numerous stakeholders.
Police Department Focus Groups – March 2021
The facilitators conducted internal focus groups with LOPD officers, dispatchers, executive staff and the leadership team to deepen understanding of policing from an internal perspective, provide insight into ongoing efforts surrounding implicit bias and help identify potential areas of improvement in policing practices.
Community Focus Groups and Survey – April 2021
Focus groups including those who live, work, and visit Lake Oswego was a critical element of the outreach process that informed the facilitation team’s recommendations to ensure the work the police department does is in line with our community’s expectations. As an alternative, a survey was made available to community members on the City’s website.
Law Enforcement Presentations to Lake Oswego City Council – May 2021
During the kickoff in March, community members asked questions about law enforcement data and LOPD training. In response to community feedback, LOPD staff provided a report and presentation about hiring and training processes to City Council on May 4, 2021.
On May 18, 2021, Oregon Criminal Justice Commission Executive Director Dr. Ken Sanchagrin presented data about discretionary traffic and pedestrian stops in Lake Oswego. LOPD staff shared current information about the organizational structure of the department, complaints and use of force incidents.
Community Policing Dialog Findings – June 2021
September Recommendations Report – September 2021
Based on the input received from community members and LOPD staff, facilitators presented proposed recommendations to Council in a late September meeting.
Wrap-Up Event – October 2021
City Council invited residents, business owners and visitors to engage in a discussion about alignment of recommendations with community needs and priorities. A summary of community feedback can be found in the Addendum to Proposed Community Policing Recommendations.
Community Policing Action Plan Presentation - March 2022
On March 1, 2022 Chief Jorgensen and Captain Simon presented a community policing action plan based on:
- Themes and findings from the focus groups and survey; and
- Recommendations and corresponding feedback from community members and City Council.
To view the presentation and discussion, please visit the City's YouTube page (presentation begins at 40:45).