EUGENE, Ore. — Bias-based policing and racial profiling is an issue police departments all over the country face.
In the history of the Eugene Police Department, when it comes to bias-based policing or racial profiling, there has never been a policy that guides officers and their interactions with the community.
The Eugene Police Commission will address the issue on Thursday. A panel of experts will share their perspectives on bias-based policing and the community is invited to join in on the conversation, a key part of the process in creating the first policy of its kind in the city of Eugene.
“We are having this discussion now because there is that perception that there is bias-based policing in our community and if you ask members of minority communities, they feel that they’re discriminated against or they’re racially profiled. So this policy is only the first step in addressing this larger issue,” said Eugene Police Commissioner Juan Carlos Valle.
Valle says Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns is very open to having this policy. In fact, the department has upgraded its system that collects and reports demographic information of people stopped during traffic stops. That software is expected to be implemented next fall.
At the end of the discussion, commissioners will present a policy that the police department will use for a year. Then they’ll review it again. If you would like to join the conversation, the meeting will be at Harris Hall at 6 p.m. on Thursday.