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Reviewing the Review

Leonard Pushes Mayor on Cop Review Report

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City Commissioner Randy Leonard is throwing stones at Mayor Tom Potter over the credibility of an independent consultant's report released last month, which said the community doesn't trust the city's Independent Police Review (IPR).

The report, by Arizona-based consultant Eileen Luna-Firebaugh, came back to the mayor's office on January 24 and will be presented to the city council on February 28.

In the meantime, mud has been flying behind the scenes. The mayor sent a memo to his fellow city commissioners on Monday, February 11, saying he was "satisfied that this evaluation has been conducted in a thorough and objective manner," and that council should pay close attention to five of the report's recommendations, in particular.

Commissioner Leonard hit back on Wednesday, February 13, saying he had "serious reservations about the quality of [Luna-Firebaugh]'s report."

Leonard went on to suggest that Potter, who is police commissioner, should take responsibility for the IPR back from City Auditor Gary Blackmer, instead of scapegoating the auditor for the IPR's negative perception in the community.

Leonard's idea is unlikely to be implemented.

"[The IPR] was under the mayor's office in the 1990s and I think people were less confident in the system then," says Dan Handelman of Portland Copwatch.

Handelman has suggested that the IPR be moved out of city hall completely and established as a wholly independent body, in order to avoid perceived conflicts of interest, although his idea is unlikely to be implemented, either.

"I think it's unfortunate that that's how he feels," says Luna-Firebaugh. "But that's why we have included a lot of the data in the report, because we believe people should look and decide for themselves that it stands on its own."

Potter's spokesman, John Doussard, did not return a call for comment by press time.

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