Oregon releases new, online database showing police misconduct

MEDFORD, Ore. — A new database is now available showing Oregon law enforcement officers’ suspensions, open investigations, and who has lost their badge.

It comes in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the passage of House Bill 4207 in the legislature in recent weeks.

“No police officer wants to work with a bad cop, no community wants to employ a bad cop,”  said Eriks Gabliks, director of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

Revoked, suspended, or denied, Oregon law enforcement officers with police misconduct records are now listed on a public, online database.

Gabliks says out of roughly 11,000 law enforcement officers statewide, they have 200 open cases.

“Those open cases are something that has raised our interest in what occurred. So, it may be that a person was arrested, it may be that a person separated from employment,” said Gablicks.

Gablicks says roughly 40 to 60 officers and deputies lose their certification annually.

The open investigations database, which only goes back to 2018, shows 3 Medford Police officers left southern Oregon’s largest department.

One deputy left the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office.

“What we’re waiting to find out is why they left,” he said.

The database says the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office does have 2 officers who have been arrested, but the outcome of their criminal cases are pending.

We asked Sheriff Dave Daniel if the two deputies still worked there; he told us no comment.

“We will flag that and we will follow through the criminal disposition to see what the outcome is,” Gablicks said.

Gablicks says Oregon is also a part of a national database called the ‘National Certification Index.’

“It’s the way that we keep bad apples from moving from one state to the other,” he said.

The problem, Gablicks says, is not every state is a part of the system nor do they require statewide certification.

Instead, their certification comes from a specific police department.

Even if a department decides to share its records, the definition of misconduct can vary by department.

“That is the weakness of the system,” he said. “It really is state by state. And, in fact, some states aren’t allowed to enter their officers into the officer de-certification database.”

While Gablicks says this is a step toward transparency, the new law that created it also requires police to report to DPSST when investigating potential hires.

And with background checks taking significant time and money, Gablicks says that’s a real asset for smaller police departments.

“We are making a very important decision when we are hiring a police officer and we want to make sure we get it right,” he said.

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