Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman will be on OPB's Think Out Loud this morning at 9am, along with the director of the Independent Police Review, Mary-Beth Baptista, and Copwatch activist Dan Handelman. I'll be listening, and doing a softball watch here on Blogtown, like I did when the police chief went on the show in early February. Think Out Loud reaches so many Oregonians, it just bugs the crap out of me when people go on there and simply regurgitate their talking points. So I'm trying to be constructive about the show, and I have just one point to make in the public interest.

To presenter Emily Harris and the show's producers (and you can read an interview with Baptista here about the proposed reforms before the show) please, please be sure to get the police commissioner on record on one question:

There's a very limited window for any changes to be made to the way the police bureau holds its officers accountable, because any changes are subject to the police union contract negotiations, which are going on right now, and only happen once every four years. And at Sunday's Citizen Review Committee hearing citizens were making points about three specific issues: 1.doing tests for officers on drugs and steroids, 2.encouraging officers to live closer in to the city, and 3.ongoing performance evaluation for officers.

None of those three ideas, which are important to the community, are included in these recommendations to reform the Independent Police Review.

Baptista told the Mercury Monday: “We’re not working in a vacuum, either. The union negotiations are going on right now, and that is a forum for a lot of those issues...If the community really wants annual performance review, drug testing, encouraging police officers to live in the city, then they need to make those suggestions during the negotiation process. That’s the appropriate forum for that.”

So, I'd like someone to get Police Commissioner Saltzman on the record—will he push for these three things, that the community is asking for, in the negotiation process with the union, this time around? Because I only saw a representative from his office at the first negotiation session on Friday, and I've got to tell you, nobody at city hall has made any noise on these three ideas, apart from the community. I'm not confident we can trust our politicians to push for these things unless we remind them repeatedly what's expected.

Don't let him hum-ho this question, either. Is he going to push for these things, or not? If not, what will it take from the community to get him to push for them? Do we need to march? Do we need a petition? Does Al Sharpton need to come out and call for these things? Just name it. We'll be there.

Here's why it's important. It seems to me that there's a risk that City Commissioner Randy Leonard might get to make a lot of political noise about making these relatively minor, though very important, reforms to the Independent Police Review system, but that the community's desire for, once again—1.doing tests for officers on drugs and steroids, 2.encouraging officers to live closer in to the city, and 3.ongoing performance evaluation for officers—will be ignored in the political process. Unless Police Commissioner Saltzman feels like the community needs him to pay attention.

Having watched the police deaths of James Chasse and now Aaron Campbell very closely, I've noticed a kind of "buy one death, get one token police reform, free" policy. So, is that what's happening here?

Also, Emily: Keep Dan Handelman on topic. Don't let him fill endless minutes of your valuable airtime with meandering sentences. He's a wonderful advocate but his thoughts do tend to wander over the vast range of his knowledge in an almost free associative way. So: Ask him closed questions, and the audience will benefit. Be tough. And ask Baptista, too, about the three ideas. I've got a feeling she'd be open to at least ongoing performance evaluation, too, which is important. It would give Saltzman political cover.