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News Release
City of Vancouver, Vancouver Police Department reach police reform milestone - 10/12/21

Vancouver, Washington—On Monday, Oct. 11, City Manager Eric Holmes and Police Chief James McElvain shared the Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) final report on the Community Task Force on Policing with Vancouver City Council. View their presentation.

This benchmark report represents another major step of a police reform process created more than two years ago to better understand the use of force within VPD and to increase equity, accountability, transparency, public trust and confidence in VPD. View the final report.

The Community Task Force on Policing was created in June 2020 by Holmes to review and assure transparency and accountability during the implementation of 84 recommendations made by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) to reform VPD’s culture, policies and practices around use of force. 

The task force, comprised of members representing the Vancouver City Council, the Chief's Diversity Advisory Team, mental health resources, homeless resource providers, police labor organizations, the City Manager's Office, the Office of the Chief and Vancouver’s diverse communities, met monthly between September 2020 and September 2021. Chief McElvain’s final report shows 74 of the 84 recommendations have successfully been addressed, with work on the final 10 already under way.

“I commend both the task force and the Vancouver Police Department for their thoughtfulness, efficiency and urgency in reviewing and implementing the reform recommendations made by PERF,” said Holmes. “Chief McElvain’s report shows the tremendous amount of work that was accomplished in one short year. Our transparency with the with task force members around policies, training and data tracking supported well-informed decisions to help build a better policing system for our community.”   

The initial police review and reform process began in June 2019 when the city manager and police chief commissioned PERF to perform a review of the VPD’s culture, policies, training, documentation and data on use of force and officer-involved shooting incidents. PERF delivered its final Use of Force Report in June 2020, offering the set of 84 recommendations to reform the VPD’s culture, policies and practices around the use of force.

“We value the opportunity to collaborate with the task force and city council to implement policy changes, increase data collection and enhance our training program based on the recommendations and policing best practices,” said Chief McElvain. “Full implementation of the PERF recommendations ensures that VPD is responsive to the needs of the community, that it is accountable and transparent to the community it serves, and that it’s able to evolve with the changing needs and dynamics of the community.”

The final 10 recommendations not yet implemented are currently being addressed by VPD:

  • Seven recommendations are related to the development of an internal Critical Incident Review Board. VPD will begin work on the recommendations in 2022 after the department has addressed significant changes in policing aligned with new state laws. 
  • One recommendation is related to data collection to quantify de-escalation and the department is actively working on procedures to capture this data.
  • Two recommendations are part of current negotiations with the police unions for its 2022 contracts.

The task force was also charged with reviewing and advising the city on establishing its police camera program. VPD will begin testing equipment as part of a 60-day pilot program that is scheduled to begin in early November, with full implementation of the camera program expected in early 2022.

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