SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Ongoing police misconduct in Oregon and across the country has led to calls for police reform and greater accountability. Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan released an audit of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training on Wednesday.
The auditors found that the DPSST has improved the Basic Police Academy and procedures that help hold police officers accountable, but oversight gaps remain. Auditors also found that staffing and technology constraints hamper the agency’s efforts, according to a press release that continues below.
âThis audit reinforces the importance of greater police accountability to increase public confidence in law enforcement,â said Fagan. âToday’s report clearly outlines the key steps DPSST and law enforcement partners need to take to improve performance and build public confidence.
The report contains additional and relevant information on the efforts of the governor and the legislature to reform the police in Oregon and their relationship to the police accountability role of the DPSST. The report also discusses the continued lack of data on the use of excessive force in Oregon. When the auditors attempted to examine the data on excessive force incidences and compare the data to DPSST’s professional standards for open and closed cases, they found that the state of Oregon did not have the necessary data. to make this comparison.
The DPSST is responsible for regulating and certifying all public safety professionals in Oregon, including city, county, state, and tribal police officers, as well as city and county corrections officers. counties. Over the past five years, the DPSST and its Board of Directors have put in place improved screening procedures for those seeking accreditation and strengthened existing rules and procedures for officers who engage in misconduct.
Yet surveillance gaps remain. The DPSST’s process to revoke an officer’s certification often relies on actions at the local law enforcement agency level. This, combined with other loopholes in the administrative rules, limits the oversight role of the DPSST and increases the risk that officers whose conduct merits revocation of accreditation may go unnoticed or go unchecked. The auditors recommend a certification process for field training officers, which includes initial and continuing training requirements.
The auditors also found that the DPSST had revamped the Basic Police Academy to include an evidence-based curriculum and teaching methods aligned with leading industry practices. However, the Academy suffered from a lack of staff. Additionally, improved technology could help Academy and police certifying staff improve their practices.
The audit is one of a series of reports that Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan will release in the coming weeks regarding public safety and police accountability. Read the full audit on the Secretary of State’s website.