BE A COP WATCHER! In what may be a major step toward police accountability, or possibly a bit of public relations puffery, police chief Derrick Foxworth opened up an application process for a citizen review board. That 15-person advisory committee will be responsible for reviewing all police shootings and incidents where excessive force is suspected.

Currently, three assistant chiefs review any police shooting or in-custody death. This new plan would create a bullpen of volunteers to help review those cases. It is unclear what powers the group will have--such as, will they be able to subpoena testimony from officers?

Chief Foxworth also pointed out the board will serve as advisors only, and he would still have ultimate say on any officer's discipline.

To apply, stop by any police precinct and return the application by July 1. PB

GAYs strike back It wasn't meant to be a revolutionary act when Andrew Gilbert, who is gay, went to a dance club last summer in Bend. But what happened after Gilbert took to the dance floor with a boyfriend was transformed into a minor civil rights victory last week.

Shortly after Gilbert started dancing, one of the bar's patrons stepped out of the crowd and slugged Gilbert hard enough to knock him to the floor and break his jaw. The perpetrator quickly vanished and was never heard from again. But Gilbert didn't let the case lie still.

Against the stubborn wishes of the city's business community and large Christian population, Gilbert helped to introduce a local ordinance that bans discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace, housing and public places. Even the local chamber of commerce voiced its opposition to the ordinance, explaining that the law would open up businesses to lawsuits.

But last Wednesday, the Bend city council passed the ordinance. Although cities like Portland, Eugene, and Ashland already have similar laws, this is the first such victory east of the Cascades. Until recently, Bend, like most of the state's population outside the Willamette Valley, has traditionally been a Republican stronghold. But with the influx of sports nuts and California refugees, that political attitude has softened. PB