Brilliant: Oregon police, sheriffs file ballot initiative to apply “accountability standards” to lawmakers

Brilliant: Oregon police, sheriffs file ballot initiative to
apply “accountability standards” to lawmakers 1

SALEM, OR- We’ve all heard about criminal justice reform bills. However an Oregon law enforcement organization has come up with an idea that is simply brilliant.

Last month, the Oregon Coalition of Police & Sheriffs (ORCOPS) announced their support for a ballot initiative which they said would “bring meaningful accountability to the legislative process” in the state. In a press release, the organization said they had submitted initial sponsorship signatures to the Secretary of State’s office.

According to ORCOPS Vice President Scott Dillon, he said the initiative was important due to misconduct of two state legislatures and as a means to bring accountability to state lawmakers.

“As the legislature moved forward on measure to remove accountability measures on the authority of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, over one thousand voters chose to move forward on an initiative that would being meaningful accountability to the legislative process,” Dillon said.

“In a session marked by two legislators’ removal from office for misconduct, lawmakers have done a lot of finger pointing but done nothing to address rampant misconduct within their own ranks.” 

If passed, the measure called Petition 12 would:

  • Make the existing Ethics Commission more independent from the Legislature, which it is meant to oversee;
  • Allow for penalties to include recission of Legislators’ per diem or daily salaries; and
  • Require that Legislators who become aware of misconduct within their tanks report that misconduct.

“Last year ORCOPS supported the legislature’s efforts to confer a duty to report misconduct on law enforcement officers. Since then, we’ve seen legislators take the opposite approach when it comes to them and their own pals: by protecting, concealing, and even financially supporting those accused of misconduct,” said Jim Habkirk, ORCOPS Secretary-Treasurer.

“This measure has a simple message: No one is above accountability. We invite the Legislature to hold itself to the high standards we should our law enforcement officers.”

The organization said in their release that Petition 12, known as the “Ethics in Politics Act,” will be assigned an official title and petitioners have approximately one year to collect the needed signatures, which amounts to a little over 111,000.

Dillon acknowledged that getting the measure on the Oregon ballot is a “tall order,” however he said legislatures should just “step up” and bring the measure before voters in 2022.

Such a bill sounds pretty fair, after all turnabout is fair play, right? If state legislators believe that police need to be held accountability, wouldn’t it make sense that they also should be held accountable for their behavior?

In June, Oregon State Rep. Mike Nearman, a Republican was expelled from the legislature after he was found to have let violent protesters into the Oregon Statehouse, according to Yahoo News. With his expulsion, Nearman became the first member to be expelled from the Oregon House in its 160 year history. The vote was 159-1.

Nearman was witnessed on security video opening a door on December 21 while legislators met in emergency session to deal with the COVID economic fallout. Protesters, some who were armed got into the building  and engaged in shoving matches with police and some sprayed officers with bear spray.

Nearman was unapologetic in a statement he read to members at a hearing.

“The fact is that I exited the building and members of the public entered into the Capitol building, a place they had a right to be—a place the Legislative Assembly had no right to exclude them from,” he said. Nearman refused to answer questions on advice of his attorney.

Earlier, a Democrat legislator, Rep. Brad Witt had a complaint filed against him by a group of Slavic women who opposed a bill which would have removed non-medical exemptions for required immunizations in the state. The bill died in the Oregon state senate.

The women filed a formal complaint against Witt; however the complaint was not upheld, saying that Witt had not discriminated against the group on the basis of gender, national origin or other protected status.

While acknowledging that Witt may have acted in an unprofessional manner, they found he had not discriminated against the women based on bias.

Law Enforcement Today will follow up on the legislative accountability ballot initiative as more information comes available.

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Last year, Law Enforcement Today reported on three bills filed by an Oregon state legislator to bring additional accountability to lawmakers. For more on that, we invite you to:


SALEM, OR – What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? There’s more than one way to skin a cat. What goes up must come down. Right, you get the clichés.

This, however is actually so beautiful it brings a tear to our eyes. Law Enforcement Today has learned that an Oregon state representative has introduced three initiatives targeting politicians in that state in order to bring accountability and clarity to politics . . . and it’s awesome.

On Sept. 28, ORCOPS (Oregon Coalition of Police and Sheriffs) President Daryl Turner, Rep. Jeff Barker (D-Aloha) and attorney Anil Karia filed three bills with the Oregon Secretary of State that are intended to address gaps in accountability for public officials, as well as provide “clarity and predictability” surrounding local protocols for protests.

The first measure is known as IP-10, called the “End Immunity for Politicians Act.” You’ve heard of qualified immunity for police officers? Were you aware this doctrine also applies to elected officials? They probably don’t want you to know that, but it does.

For those not versed, qualified immunity is a legal doctrine that protects public servants, including elected officials, from work-related liabilities. That doctrine, which also applies to police officers, is scheduled to be discussed in the 2021 Oregon legislative session specifically regarding law enforcement officers. Turner explained:

“IP-10 allows Oregon to take a broader view of racial inequality. Where’s the accountability for the local official who implemented the bad policy? Where’s the accountability for the politicians who are creating these laws that are being implemented?

“We can’t recognize that institutionalized racism exists at all levels of government and then decide not to address the upstream causes.”


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The second measure, IP-11 is the “Protect Free Speech and Safe Streets Act.” This proposal would “ensure that local governments have a transparent and predictable protocol established for protests and similar gatherings.” Karia stated:

“When public safety protocols become politicized, it leads to wildly varying standards from event to event, making situations unpredictable for both protestors and law enforcement officers.

“This measure will do two things. First, whatever elected officials’ mood is day to day, the rules for protests will be clearly laid out beforehand and transparent for all parties.

Second, it will also provide a clear way for members of the public to actively weigh in and help create a plan that reflects the standards and values of their community.”

This law would prohibit the imposition of certain fees for lawful protests, and would also require law enforcement officers who interact with a demonstration to display identifying information.

The third measure, IP-12, is the “Ethics in Politics Act.” There’s a contradiction in terms for you! That measure would “add independence to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission” in order to ensure that members are “appointed and able to craft policy without interference from the officials they are meant to hold accountable (emphasis added.)”

The measure would also require state legislators and legislative officials to immediately report instances of misconduct when they become aware of same.

If this sounds familiar to Oregon residents it should . . . In a June 2020 special session, the Oregon state legislature made law enforcement officers subject to a similar provision. Turnabout is fair play, right?

Speaking to that policy, Turner said:

“ORCOPS supported HB4205 this past summer because we want our members to be held to a high standard. We’re happy to lead by example.”


In order to be placed on the ballot, the measures require signatures from 1,000 voters, and then would need an additional 111,000 signatures by summer of 2022 in order to qualify for the 2022 election. An intervening legislature may “choose to incorporate some or all of the concepts into legislative measures before then.”

Last month, Law Enforcement Today reported on a poll of Oregon residents which showed they wanted police to use MORE force in dealing with violent protests. For more on that, we invite you to:


Despite Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s continuous attempts to downplay the violence in his city and continuing to tie the hands of law enforcement officers, a majority of Oregonians believe that police should use MORE force in dealing with violent protesters.

According to a poll conducted by DMH research between Sept. 3-8, nearly half of the participants said they lived in either Multnomah, Clackamas or Washington countries. Nearly a quarter lived elsewhere in Willamette Valley, while the remainder were from other parts of the state, according to OregonLive.

According to the poll, 42 percent of those responding believed police should use more force, while 18 percent felt the force currently being employed was good.

The poll also showed that 66 percent of Oregonians are opposed to the protests; the only demographic approving of the protests were millennials and Gen Zs — voters age 18-29, at 62 percent. Thirty-three percent of that group said they disapproved, DMH Research said.

In an overwhelming slap at the “leadership” of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a mere 10 percent of those polled approved of her response to the protests. Still, Brown did better than the gutless mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, who polled at a whopping 8 percent approval for his handling of the riots in that city.

Concerning police response to the protests in Portland, a small majority, 46 percent-45 percent approved of the Portland Police Bureau’s response to the rioting.

DMH said:

“At the end of the survey, we asked voters what is a more accurate description of the events in Portland: 55% said riot while 37% said protest.” 

Guess that pretty much puts the “peaceful protest” narrative to bed.

In a separate survey published Tuesday of 435 Portland voters, OregonLive said:

“Wheeler drew an unfavorable rating of 63 percent, around three-quarters of respondents said they supported the Black Lives Matter Movement, and close to 70 percent said they supported the Portland protests.”

So clearly, the problem appears to be that there is something in the water in Portland.

Back in mid-July, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf reached out to Wheeler to see if federal law enforcement could assist the beleaguered city. Wheeler said at the time:

“Today, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security asked to speak with me about demonstration activity in Portland. He expressed his concern about ongoing violence and asked how his agency can help.”

Wheeler of course deflected blame from himself and his invisible “leadership” to the federal government. Wheeler tweeted:

“I told the Acting Secretary that my biggest immediate concern is the violence federal officers brought to our streets in recent days, and the life-threatening tactics his agents use. We do not need or want their help.”

Portland has, of course had riots since the end of May when George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis, with no end in sight.

In an apparent move to have the nonsense continue, the city of Portland last week banned the use of facial-recognition technology by the Portland Police Bureau.

“Its decision to prevent both local government and businesses from employing the technology appears to be the most sweeping ban yet by an individual city,” CNN said in a report on the move.

The report continued:

“The new rule prevents ‘private entities in places of public accommodation’ in Portland from using it, too, referring to businesses that serve the general public — a grocery store or pizza place, for instance. It does not prevent individuals from setting up facial-recognition technology at home, such as a Google Nest camera that can spot familiar faces or gadgets that use facial-recognition software for authenticating users, like Apple’s Face ID feature for unlocking an iPhone.”

Wheeler, who is clearly in over his head, explained away the new regulations saying:

“Technology exists to make our lives easier, not for public and private entities to use as a weapon against the very citizens they serve and accommodate.”

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