Thursday, July 19, 2007

Street Roots is calling for public oversight of private security

Welcome to the new Street Roots blog! We will be delivering readers announcments, giving people a sneak peek of the new paper, publishing longer pieces from individuals on the streets, offering breaking news, vendor profiles and getting people involved in action items that can make a difference.

The new blog will be accessible on the Street Roots website next week. In the meantime - enjoy!

Staffers at City Hall have said they've been receiving e-mails requesting oversight of the Portland Patrol. Now is the time to let City Hall know public oversight is needed!

Nearly 1,000 park exclusions have been issued in Portland public parks since November by private security guards without the public’s oversight.

The idea that a private institution, in this case, Portland Patrol Inc., has the capacity to enforce public policy that is upheld in a court of law without the public knowing their training procedures or what discretion security guards are using is unacceptable for Portlanders. Public parks and sidewalks belong to all of us and should not be controlled by private institutions that hire a private police force to patrol Portland.

Private security oversight could be rolled into the current Independent Police Review (IPR) — minimizing the bureaucracy that would be created by inventing a whole new system. The infrastructure for the IPR is in place, and could be the channel for people to reach the city and citizen oversight groups with regard to policing the private police.

This is different from private guards on private property. And it’s different from the city directly employing security, accountable to the city and ultimately to elected officials. This is private security employed by private business interests. Any measure of public questions and concerns are now ricocheted between private entities, without transparency and clear oversight by the public they monitor.

Portland is known for its green spaces and phenomenal park system, accessible and belonging to all. It is not known for being a police state, yet the numbers of uniformed patrols seems to grow year by year. Let’s keep this expansive rent-a-cop system in check, and let’s begin with the public’s property.

To e-mail or call the Mayor and commissioners go the Street Roots website and
  • Act Now!

  • The Portland Mercury also ran a short this week called
  • Rent-A-Cop

  • Pick up the new issue at locations throughout Portland and find out the shape of Oregon's grassroots environmental movement and Blackwater, a private militia working around the world!

    No comments: