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Oregon Legislature is Moving Forward on Police Reform Bills

Following the recent trial and conviction of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who murdered George Floyd, Congress has been moving forward to pass police reform bills in order to decrease cases of police brutality and prevent future unnecessary deaths.

Likewise, the Oregon House of Representatives approved and passed a package of nine bills in order to initiate better trust and more peaceful encounters amongst law enforcement and citizens. These measures include removing officers who are unfit to serve, and adopting greater accountability and additional training of law enforcement officers so that there will be appropriate education on how to handle tense situations and reduce the risk of tragedy.

The legislation being considered is, in large part, a response to abusive and violent police conduct toward demonstrators during last year’s massive BLM protests, as well as a history of excessively violent conduct on the part of the police.

There is widespread acknowledgement that the police frequently employed excessive force toward the BLM demonstrators, and took other actions, such as obscuring their name badges, to avoid being held accountable.

Some reforms that have been adopted include a requirement that Portland police officers must now report a fellow officer’s misconduct. Portland also requires officers to perform CPR and call for immediate medical attention for persons who seem mentally unstable or in a state of distress. The nine House bills being considered by the Legislature incorporate other sorely needed reforms.

One can hope that the reforms being considered in Salem will provide needed transparency and justice within law enforcement ranks, and foster greater accountability for police misconduct.

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