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Recruitment​ for West Linn’s New Chief of Police

Public Statement from the West Linn Alliance

The West Linn Alliance is a community organization focused on promoting social equity and social justice. Our vision is that West Linn is a safe, welcoming place for all, and our mission is to address racism and discrimination in our midst, so we can build a community of collaboration and belonging.

The West Linn Alliance urges the City of West Linn to carefully consider equity and inclusion in their search for a new Chief of Police. The Alliance proposes three themes to be explored during the interview process. The first of these is historical in nature. Candidates should be able to provide verifiable examples of implementing, or helping to implement, policy around diversity, equity, and inclusion. The proven ability of a candidate to implement change in these areas is essential.

The second theme is more functional.  Candidates should demonstrate clear insight into accountability and consequences in law enforcement.  Accountability is essential for a healthy department when handling reviews of its own members. The candidate should be able to articulate standards of accountability in a profession where a form of legal immunity prevails. The candidate should also be able to provide concrete examples of when she or he has enforced transparent accountability during internal reviews.

The last theme is forward-looking. Candidates must be able to provide a credible vision of change and reform in policing. Where are we now and where should we be in five years? What types of reform will be the most beneficial in providing continual improvement in the quality of West Linn policing?

The West Linn Alliance believes that exploring these three themes with individual candidates will provide significant information about the depth of their current skill sets, and it will help clarify their vision of the future for policing in West Linn.

Pursuant to these themes we have the following questions:

Why does the candidate want the West Linn job and what do they view as the main challenges they will face? The candidate should explain why they are interested in coming to West Linn. (After the last 2 chiefs, we need stability, and not to be used as a steppingstone.)

Does the candidate have specific examples of turning around a bad situation?  West Linn PD is in need of restoring its self-image as well as the image with the community and surrounding agencies. In light of the Fesser case, our image in regard to DEI is especially tarnished. 

Does the candidate bring working experience and a good reputation regarding interagency policing relationships?  For example, if there were a regional task force on sex trafficking how would a smaller department such as WLPD be useful? Our relationship with the FBI, DOJ, and County is tarnished right now. As a small department, the WLPD relies on the resources of the County Sheriff. How can the candidate mend these relationships?

Can the candidate cite examples of civilian oversight of police that appear to work well and/or ones that don’t work well?   

Recruiting officer candidates requires casting a large net, how will the candidate approach this critical part of their job? The candidate should describe the recruiting process they have found to be most successful, especially in bring diversity to a department.

How can continuing education for officers be most effective in preparing them to meet the demands of a profession undergoing considerable change?

Can the candidate provide examples of positive community outreach programs they have either developed or participated in?

What is the candidate’s philosophy on conducting traffic stops?  It is well known that in West Linn implicit bias is a factor in traffic stops involving people of color, older cars, and teenagers.  

How can a small department identify and deal appropriately with mental health situations on dispatched calls?