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Portland Police Bureau to Halt, Purge All Gang Designations

September 08, 2017  | 

Portland, OR, police next month will end their more than 20-year-old practice of designating people as gang members or gang associates in response to strong community concerns about the labels that have disproportionately affected minorities, reports the Oregonian.

The Police Bureau recognizes that the gang designations have led to "unintended consequences'' and served as lifelong barriers for those who have shunned the gang lifestyle and tried to get jobs,

Photo: Portland (OR) Police Bureau/Facebook
Photo: Portland (OR) Police Bureau/Facebook
said Acting Tactical Operations Capt. Andy Shearer.

Leaders from Black Male Achievement, former police Assistant Chief Kevin Modica, and others have lobbied to end the designations.

"Gang violence isn't going to go away. There are still crimes attributed to known gang sets. There are still criminal gang members. That doesn't go away because we don't have a gang designation,'' said Capt. Mike Krantz, who helped spearhead the change. "We're not pretending gang violence doesn't exist. We're just taking this one thing away.''

Krantz said Friday that the Police Bureau has considered ending gang designations for two years as gang enforcement officers met with parole and probation officers, community members, and others to figure out the details. They recently got the approval of former Chief Mike Marshman and current Interim Chief Chris Uehara.

The new policy will take effect Oct. 15.


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

kevcopaz @ 9/8/2017 5:56 PM

Unless Im missing something, as a former Gang detective, I think this sounds stupid. What good is tracking a "gang:" if you don't track the members of that gang? They are right, gang violence will always be with us even if you want to ignore it for purely soft political reasons.Yes there should be a process for those that have a gang designation to have that removed after review of recent history, etc but just dumping all (active or not) is ludicrous and dangerous. Perhaps the minority community should look at the reason this "affects" that community. Could be that they have the highest rate of gang membership and commit a disproportional amount of crime in relationship to percentage of population. But perhaps this would be looking into the mirror and they don't want to see the truth. So lets just ignore facts and make people "feel better"and make nice like all is just ok.This is a typical progressive,politically correct move thats based upon politics,"feelings" and ignores reality

Dave @ 9/9/2017 9:57 AM

How ridiculous. Should we stop calling those who commit crimes, criminal, because it labels them based on their behavior. Those who cry that the practice tags more minorities as gang members might be surprised to know it's because they are. Their choice. Next we'll say dope dealers are entrepreneurs and have a right to trade as they see fit. Or maybe we should stop calling minorities minorities because that unfairly labels more minorities as minorities more than non-minorities. Look folks, it is what it is. Gang designations, created by validated criteria, are an effective evidence based process and investigative tool. If they leave the lifestyle, and that can be validated, take the designation away. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater at the cost of societal safety.

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