Voices from the Edge on 01/29/09
The Portland Police Bureau is keeping a list of people arrested most often downtown. The police say that the list, which has grown from 35 to nearly 400, is part of a coordinated strategy to improve livability in Old Town and surrounding neighborhoods by arresting chronic offenders and holding them in jail where they can receive drug, acohol and other treatments to end their criminal behavior. Defense attorneys say that people are being labeled as chronic offenders based on arrests rather than convictions. They also say these people have no way of appealing their placement on the list, are being prosecuted more harshly than other offenders, and may represent another form of racial profiling by the police. Dan Saltzman, the city's new police commissioner, has endorsed the program and suggested it may be expanded to other areas of the city to cover other issues like prostitution.
Jo Ann and Dave talk with David Fidanque, executive director of the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union about the secret list. Earlier this month the ACLU filed a legal challenge over the constitutionality of the list.