Sarah Iannarone, an urban policy consultant and contender in Portland's 2020 mayoral election, released a list of her campaign's public safety priorities Tuesday morning.
The 11-page document is a mix of aspirational and concrete ideas on a broad range of local issues that intersect with law enforcement. The detailed document doesn't offer any big surprises, but does show how far Iannarone's willing to drift to the left of incumbent Ted Wheeler. We've plucked out some of the more notable suggestions—with added context—below. (For the entire plan, click here.)
Direct leadership to "show up in times of conflict alongside our people" and encourage public participation in peaceful protests. This is a clear jab at Wheeler's absence from Portland's headline-grabbing protests and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw's ask for Portlanders to not participate in an August 2019 protest. Iannarone adds that police officers should always intervene when a fight breaks out between protesters, and prioritize attendees' personal safety over deterring property destruction.
Establish a "zero-tolerance policy" for racist officers. "Police officers who have been found demonstrating racist or violent behavior have lost the trust of the public and shall be fired." Iannarone hints at the city's continued employment of PPB Capt. Mark Kruger, who was suspended for two weeks in 2010 after erecting a plaque to honor Nazi soldiers in a public park.
Abolish the Gun Violence Reduction Team. Iannarone echoes a 2018 city audit, which found that members of the GVRT (then the Gang Enforcement Team) disproportionately pulls over drivers of color. "While all gangs should be discouraged, it is clear that the police have been profiling people of color rather than individuals engaging in criminal activity," she writes.
Require that all new Portland Police Officers live in Portland. Last time we checked, only 18 percent of all PPB officers had an address with a Portland ZIP code. To ensure that all officers are "invested in the community they are policing," Iannarone proposes instituting a residency requirement for all new officers no later than 2024.
Ban facial recognition technology from public spaces. This is a nod to Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who has begun hammering out a city policy that would bar the use of facial recognition cameras in public spaces.
Allow the public to offer aid to homeless Portlanders in public spaces. This is a clear reference to a new policy proposed by Portland Parks and Recreation, which limits social service groups' ability to serve food in public parks.
Direct police to stop prioritizing drug use as a crime. Instead, Iannarone writes, redirect police funds to public health programs (like clean needle exchanges and recovery programs) to help people who have a substance use disorder.
Remove armed police officers from schools. Currently, Portland Public Schools employs PPB officers as armed "School Resource Officers" (SROs), a position students, teachers, and police accountability activists had asked to abolish earlier this year. Despite their concerted campaign to defund the SRO program, Wheeler financed the SRO positions in the 2019-2020 city budget.
Decriminalize sex work. Iannarone suggests PPB stops enforcing the state law that criminalizes sex work, and instead focus on ending sex trafficking and sex abuse.
End all cooperation with the federal Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Portland City Council voted to remove its officers' direct participation in the JTTF in February, citing concerns that the program targeted minority and immigrant communities. PPB now interacts with JTTF on a case-by-case-basis. Iannarone's request goes a step further by severing all ties with JTTF projects in Portland.
Cancel the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) lease at its Portland facility. This idea was initially explored by City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly during the 2018 protests at the ICE facility in Southwest Portland, but ultimately fizzled out.
Create a gun buyback program. Iannarone proposes paying gun owners to hand their firearms over to the city, "no questions asked."
Hire a non-police LGBTQ+ community liaison. "Many [LGBTQ+] community members don't feel safe contacting the police about safety issues," the proposal reads, citing the high rate of transgender and gender non-conforming victims to violent crimes.
End the city's involvement in homeless camp cleanups. Iannarone proposes placing a moratorium on the city's current system of routinely making Portlanders living outside relocate—a process that often results in lost property and arrest.
Erect more public restrooms throughout Portland. In Iannarone's words: "There is no good reason why there should be stagnant urine or feces in the streets of Portland." Wheeler has already earmarked funds to create public hygiene facilities where people can take showers, use the restroom, and wash up. Iannarone suggests expanding that plan to include temporary shelter beds and "critical services" on the premises.
Use the state funds allocated to expand I-5 in the Rose Quarter to make other state-owned streets safer for pedestrians. In response to the city's uptick in pedestrian deaths by people driving cars, Iannarone suggests funneling money meant for a plan to benefit vehicle traffic (at the expense of environmental protections) to improve streets operated by the Oregon Department of Transportation, like 82nd, Barbur, Lombard and Powell.