Amanda Lamb
Amanda Lamb Multnomah County

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A former Multnomah County analyst who was fired last month for sharing data about racial disparities in the justice system has found a new home: City Hall.

Amanda Lamb began work Monday as a management analyst with the city's Independent Police Review (IPR), a wing of the auditor's office that investigates complaints against police officers. In the position, Lamb will dig into data from IPR and the Portland Police Bureau, making conclusions from that work available to the public, says IPR Director Constantin Severe.

"It's a huge bonus for us, frankly," Severe tells the Mercury. "People with her set of skills aren't just walking around."

The new gig would seem to be ideal for Lamb. As we've reported, she was ousted from her job with the county's Local Public Safety Coordinating Council last year, following a presentation she made in October at a Las Vegas conference. That presentation used county and state data to lay out racial disparities in Multnomah County. It also painted local officials as reticent to air that information.

“The criminal justice system in this country is broken for many of our populations,” Lamb told her Vegas audience. “My role is to point out when those problems are occurring and force people to listen.... I will continue to do that because that’s how I think we’re going to change this broken system.”

Court officials were angry. They took issue with Lamb's portrayal, noting that they'd often acknowledged local disparities and were working to better understand them. They also expressed doubt about the factual conclusions Lamb reached and, more seriously, said she didn't have permission to share the data in the first place.

The ire snowballed over the final months of the year. While officials indicated to the Mercury in November that they were working to get past the incident, she was unceremoniously fired in early December for improperly sharing the information.

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It appears Lamb will be freer to present her conclusions at her new employer. While Severe notes IPR was preparing to hire a new analyst before Lamb was fired, he believes her skill set—and passion for outing disparities—fits ideally with his office's mission.

"The fact that there are disparities in our criminal justice system," Severe says, "that is not something that should be controversial in this county."