Police Bureau to Rescind Gang Designations

September 08, 2017 14:00

On Friday, September 8, 2017, during the Community Peace Collaborative (CPC) meeting, the Portland Police Bureau announced it will stop documenting people as gang members beginning on October 15, 2017.

The Gang Designation Policy was implemented more than 20 years ago when gun and gang violence rates had escalated dramatically in the city. It was developed to be an investigative tool to help police decrease escalating gun violence.

As times have changed, the Police Bureau in partnership with community members have realized being labeled a “gang member” can have a negative impact on the person who may be making attempts to overcome the life challenges they face. Today, new processes and technologies allow police to investigate crimes in a manner that our community supports and that will not have the unintended consequences of potentially harming those who may need services and help the most.

The policy will be rescinded on October 15th, and the names of approximately 300 people who are currently designated on the list will be purged from the database. 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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