Constantin Severe, the director of Portland's Independent Police Review (IPR), has resigned.
Severe, who has lead IPR since 2013, has accepted a job as Governor Kate Brown's Public Safety Adviser, according to a press release from the IPR. His last day will be April 5.
The IPR, which fields all public complaints about police office misconduct, has seen several major reforms under Severe's tenure, like the (partial) end to the "48-hour rule" and the ability for IPR to recommend discipline in an officer misconduct investigation.
“It has been an enormous privilege to serve the City and Auditor as IPR Director," Severe wrote in the press release. "I am proud to have served with an amazing, dedicated staff that works hard for this community.”
Severe, a former public defender, joined the IPR in 2008 as an assistant director.
Portland City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero, who oversees the IPR, says that she'll be conducting a national search for Severe's replacement. IPR's assistance directors, Anika Bent-Albert and Rachel Mortimer, will serve as IPR's interim directors until a permanent director is chosen.
Portland Copwatch's Dan Handelman, who's closely followed the IPR's work since its creation in 2001, says Severe's departure is "very unexpected." Handelman, a regular at IPR-related public meetings, says he didn't get a sense that Severe was wanting to leave.
And yet, Handelman adds, "He was getting it from all sides."
"The police didn't like IPR's criticism of their bureau," he says, "and the community wanted IPR to do more police accountability work."
Handelman says he hopes the next director is more engaged in the community.
"Severe would deliberately not invite community groups like [Portland Copwatch] to meetings and turn his back on us when we would testify," he says. "We need a director who prioritizes public involvement."
Severe did not immediately respond to the Mercury's request for comment.