The city of Portland is getting closer to finalizing its new policies and procedures for the Portland Police Bureau.
The changes come after a mandate by the Department of Justice required police to make changes with how they deal with the public.
The Portland Police Bureau is under scrutiny to make policy changes involving use of force and crisis intervention.
Those required changes come at a time when officers have been dealing with calls that have put some of them in danger.
For the last two months the city of Portland and the police bureau have been working to make changes within the bureau.
The City Council discussed the policy changes and took more public testimony as well as accepted the recommendations for less lethal force use.
These changes come after the Department of Justice found that Portland officers were using excessive force, specifically on people with mental illness.
Members of the public had a chance to voice their opinions about the policy changes as the members of the City Council listened.
In the last couple of weeks, several officers have either been hurt or had close calls with suspects out on the streets.
It was such a concern that police Chief Mike Reese released a video statement to his officers, saying, "Your safety is a top priority for me personally and it's been hard on all of us this past week to see and hear about officers injured while doing their best to resolve these incidents."
As officers within the bureau await what changes and policies will be coming their way, Reese is making it clear that he stands behind his troops.
"I know you are keenly aware of the DOJ settlement discussions and have concerns about what that means to our policies, training and practices surrounding use of force. I want you to know that I support your daily work and the tough situations officers respond to," said Reese in a video sent to all officers.
Under the new agreement, officers will be trained to use de-escalation techniques instead of force.
They will also not be allowed to use more than one stun gun at a time when arresting someone and they must evaluate the person's mental state before using the stun gun.
"My biggest fear of a mother, of a teen activists, is that he won't be arrested by police but will end up in a body bag by police," testified one mother.
Part of this agreement includes a total of three mobile crisis units available 24 hours a day to deal with those who have mental illness.
The city also wants there to be more community outreach to improve the relationship between diverse communities and Portland police officers.
The City Council plans to vote on the final plan next week.
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