Portland Police Bureau to stop documenting people as gang member - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland Police Bureau to stop documenting people as gang members

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Portland Police Bureau, KPTV file image Portland Police Bureau, KPTV file image

The Portland Police Bureau will stop documenting people as gang members beginning next month.

“I think it was a great decision," said Robert Richardson, a former pastor who has spent much of his time talking with young men connected to gangs.

The Gang Designation Policy was implemented more than 20 years ago as gun and gang violence escalated dramatically in Portland, according to police.

“It was developed to be an investigative tool to help police decrease escalating gun violence,” according to a Portland Police Bureau statement.

Now, the bureau reports that being labeled a “gang member” can have a negative effect on people who may be attempting to make changes in their lives.

“It’s just another barrier for the reentry components they have to deal with," said Richardson. 

The Portland Police Bureau stated new processes and technologies allow police to investigate crimes in a manner the city supports without unintended consequences.

The policy change was announced Friday and will be implemented Oct. 15. The names of around 300 people who are currently designated as gang members will be purged from the bureau’s database.

"It will make a big difference with them being able to put their feet on the ground and move forward with their lives," said Richardson. 

A directive regarding referrals to services for those who may be involved in gangs of violent gang-related behaviors is currently being developed.

People from our community who engage in violent crime and those who do so on behalf of a criminal organization will continue to be a focus of enforcement efforts of the Police Bureau. While enforcement and adjudication is an important component of stopping violence, providing meaningful services, community outreach, and relationship building is equally important. PPB strives to engage in each of those every single day in partnership with those such as the Office of Youth Violence Prevention (OYVP), the Multnomah County District Attorney's office, the US Attorney's office, Multnomah County Parole and Probation, the Oregon Youth Authority and many others.

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