Portland, OR Police Deleting Gang Database

By Faye Higbee

The Portland Police Bureau will be deleting its gang member database. They announced they would purge the database on September 8, and will complete the action in October, just as the new Police Chief, Danielle Outlaw, takes the reins of the department.

Danielle Outlaw was the Deputy Chief of Police in Oakland.

Danielle Outlaw- Portland’s new Police Chief

The PPB stated:

“The Gang Designation Policy …was developed to be an investigative tool to help police decrease escalating gun violence. 

As times have changed, the Police Bureau in partnership with community members have realized being labeled a ‘gang member’ can have a negative impact on the person who may be making attempts to overcome the life challenges they face.

Today, new processes and technologies allow police to investigate crimes in a manner that our community supports and that will not have the unintended consequences of potentially harming those who may need services and help the most.”

The policy will be rescinded on October 15th,  

People from our community who engage in violent crime and those who do so on behalf of a criminal organization will continue to be a focus of enforcement efforts of the Police Bureau.”

It was stated that the database potentially interfered with a person’s ability to get a job or move on in their lives, which actually does occur.  (The list was public).

Many departments have a gang database, which is primarily used as a tool for officer safety, investigations, and coordination with agencies such as social services.

If an officer knows up front that they are dealing with a gang member, they can be prepared. If there is a person known to be involved in gang activity that may only be on the fringe, that information can be used to get social services involved to help them.

The politically correct view said that the database was “disproportionately” aimed at racial/ethnic minorities, who comprised 81% of the database.

The gang unit has been under close scrutiny for at least a year, according to Blue Lives Matter

The report states that this action will not interfere with gang prosecutions, nor does it ignore the presence of gangs in Portland. They will still have a gang unit that will respond to those activities.