39 apply for seats on Eugene's first police oversight committee.
CORRECTION (ran Feb. 8, 2007): Eugene's yet-to-be-appointed police civilian review board will comment on the thoroughness, fairness and findings of the police department's investigation of misconduct allegations against police officers. It will not comment on any discipline imposed by the police chief. An article on Page F1 Wednesday incorrectly described the board's duties.
Thirty-nine Eugene residents have applied to become members of the city's first police oversight committee.
The applicants vying for a handful of spots on the city's civilian review board include an attorney, drug counselor, plumber, professor, chaplains, retirees, municipal court judge, school employees and former police officers.
Those appointed to the board will join Cris Beamud, the city's police auditor, in reviewing certain police department investigations of misconduct allegations against police officers.
The board's function is to comment on the inquiries and any discipline meted out to officers by Police Chief Robert Lehner.
Eugene voters in 2005 approved the auditor and review board after the sex crime convictions of two former police officers, Roger Magana and Juan Francisco Lara, and concerns raised regarding racial profiling by police.
The police department investigates about 50 allegations of police misconduct a year.
The Civilian Review Board will have five or seven members, Beamud said.
She and a four-person committee are reviewing the applications this week, and will recommend 15 or so people to the City Council, which will make the appointments.
The applicants include people familiar to city officials, such as Margo Schaefer, community outreach director of Womenspace, a Eugene shelter for abused women; and Munir Katul, a retired physician and past chairman of the Eugene Police Commission, an advisory group to the police department.
"Many of the applicants have very impressive credentials," Beamud said.
Several applicants have law enforcement or legal back- grounds.
Richard Brissenden, for example, is a municipal court judge in Cottage Grove and Florence.
N. Michael Hurley is the former director of the Oregon State Police crime lab in Springfield.
In their applications, some candidates said their experience would help them on the review board.
"As a member of the community, it is in my best interest to ensure that our police department has a high level of integrity and honor," wrote applicant Stephen Davis, a sergeant in the Lane County Sheriff's Office.
"Former police officers Lara and Magana severely damaged local law enforcement's reputation both within the community and profession."
Attorney Kate Thompson said she hopes to improve relations between the community and the police.
"The community needs to understand and appreciate the valuable work of the police," she wrote. "At the same time, the police force must be cognizant of their role as part of this community."
Ann-Marie Lemire, a chaplain at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene and director of nursing at Good Samaritan Center, a Eugene nursing home, said the review board will contribute to "a fair, just and transparent process that will protect all involved."
Beamud said she contacted leaders in Eugene's "communities of color" to encourage minorities to apply for the board.
Two applicants identified themselves as multiracial, and one is black. Two applicants did not list their race.
City Council interviews with the finalists are scheduled for March 7-8.
Beamud hopes the council appoints the board on March 12.
"I would like the board to be up and running by June," she said.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Feb 7, 2007|
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