The Vancouver Police Department will host a community forum Wednesday so the public can participate in a city-ordered independent assessment of its use-of-force protocols and training.
The city has entered into a contract with the Police Executive Research Forum — a nonprofit, national law enforcement membership organization — to conduct a use-of-force assessment.
The nonprofit, often referred to by its acronym PERF, provides management services, technical support and executive-level education for law enforcement agencies. According to the Vancouver Police Department, PERF has conducted over 250 comprehensive management studies of law enforcement agencies nationwide over four decades and is recognized as a leader in use-of-force and police accountability.
Part of the assessment will explore the possibility of a body-worn and dash camera program.
Community tensions ran high following police shootings that occurred between Feb. 5 and March 7. Two of the fatalities involved people of color and the third involved a homeless man previously diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The shootings prompted an online petition calling for police body-worn cameras, an impassioned Vancouver Neighborhood Alliance meeting and public forum, and a “March for Justice” rally.
“PERF representatives will be in Vancouver for their first on-site visit the week of Sept. 9 and will be meeting with a cross-section of department personnel, elected officials, representatives from the Chief’s Diversity Advisory Team and community members. The police department has acknowledged the community’s expressed desire to participate in this process, and have set aside time for this to occur,” according to a news release from the department.
The nonprofit’s representatives will take comments from local residents during the forum, which will be held at Clark College’s Foster Hall Auditorium, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.