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Independent Auditor's Report Shows Increase In Complaints Against EPD

Brian Bull

Nearly 400 complaints were filed against Eugene Police Department personnel in 2018.  That’s up 20 percent from the previous year. 

Most complaints focused on response times, conduct, or outcomes.  It’s expected that complaints will only increase in the near future, as the EPD works with new officers with under five years’ experience.

Independent Eugene Police Auditor Mark Gissiner says the increase may also come from officers trying to improve on a 2017 figure that showed them not responding to a third of calls.  

“And it’s just my opinion, subconsciously - the officers are trying to be faster in providing services and maybe that translates to some people into impatience or officers being too restrictive in their conversations,” Gissiner tells KLCC. 

Among the notable complaints was an officer accused of having sex while on duty, and another accused of talking poorly of co-workers and using rude and profane language. Both resigned.

Meanwhile, walk-in complaints for the Eugene Police Auditor’s Office increased by roughly 230 percent over a two-year period (2016-2018).

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
The Police Auditor's Office in the downtown Eugene area.

Gissiner says in the last couple of years they’ve had more prominent signage outside their downtown office.  But he says there’s probably more to the increase than that.

"And I think our signage is very important, it’s both in English and Spanish," says Gissiner.  "But it has to do with there’s a lot more officers and ambassadors downtown. Wish I could say it was due to a significant increase in the number of people come downtown and work, shop, and play, but it’s more a symptom of greater presence of officers.”

Phone complaints still account for half of those filed. Altogether, last year saw 392 complaints filed against EPD workers.

The auditor’s reportis scheduled to be presented Thursday (7/11) before the Eugene Police Commission.

Copyright 2019, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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