Livability or Big Brother: The Portland Police Bureau's Secret List


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Wed, 01/28/2009 - 4:00pm

The Portland Police Bureau is keeping a list of people arrested most often downtown. The police say that the list, which has grown from 35 to nearly 400, is part of a coordinated strategy to improve livability in Old Town and surrounding neighborhoods by arresting chronic offenders and holding them in jail where they can receive drug, acohol and other treatments to end their criminal behavior. Defense attorneys say that people are being labeled as chronic offenders based on arrests rather than convictions. They also say these people have no way of appealing their placement on the list, are being prosecuted more harshly than other offenders, and may represent another form of racial profiling by the police. Dan Saltzman, the city's new police commissioner, has endorsed the program and suggested it may be expanded to other areas of the city to cover other issues like prostitution.

Jo Ann and Dave talk with David Fidanque, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union about the secret list. Earlier this month the ACLU filed a legal challenge over the constitutionality of the list.

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Patrik Kilpatrick's picture

I was glad to be able to listen to this online last night... I have been hearing about the secret lists, and I feel like I got a good grasp of the issue, and I feel like I can form a reasonable opinion. However, it was a little hard to listen to at the beginning... Mr. Fidanke seemed to be really slow to come to the point, and then Ms. Bowman would kinda shut him down.. it was a little harsh to my ears, and I wasn't getting the content, either!.

But later on, after like the second caller, certain important issues came up... the fact that they need to charge the person with a felony so that they can get treatment.. and if they fail, then they've been slapped with this felony. The whole thing sounds just crazy, and at the very least, we have a right to know if we are on this list!

I would love to hear how we can work to minimize damage from substance abuse, reduce crime and arrests downtown, and eliminate racial profiling by the police.. These are system issues, and they will need citizen action to resolve.

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