On 27 March, Oregon’s Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on three bills introduced by Sen. Jackie Dingfelder, on behalf of Jo Ann Hardesty. Jo Ann’s history on the House Judiciary Committee gave her the legislative acumen to develop language and obtain six sponsors out of both houses.
But is was the Hardesty’s service to endangered communities that spurred Consult Hardesty to see that justice is better served. Forums and Community Listening Sessions under Jo Ann’s facilitation gave voice to those afflicted by police misconduct. Serving on Portland’s Community Involvement Committee, our Primary Partner helped develop standards for community outreach by the City, and improve community-government responsiveness.
The City of Portland has repeatedly called on Jo Ann to volunteer her skills. Her ability to draft legislative language brought appointment to Portland’s Charter Review Commission when, in 2012, she engaged the public in their attempts to amend the city’s constitution. She was tapped to serve on the Creation Committee which inaugurated Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights. Diligent performance on City Commissioner Randy Leonard’s 2010 Police Oversight Stakeholder Group provided an opportunity to document systemic failures in police accountability.
Possessed of detailed, operational knowledge of police policy and keenly aware of the negative effects on people of color, Jo Ann was asked to Co-Chair the City of Portland’s Racial Profiling Committee (with Police Chief Sizer), which led to a Police Plan to Address Racial Profiling passed by City ordinance. She combined her skills in obtaining community input with deep awareness of racial bias and the role of City policy in policing to hold community forums and guide debate so that a US Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division investigation was successful in community outreach and in arriving at Findings of unconstitutional patterns and practices by the City of Portland in 2012. Both Jo Ann and Roger David Hardesty were invited into a private meeting with Assistant US Attorney for Civil Rights, Thomas Perez, announced his department’s Findings. They worked as a team when the US Attorney for Oregon sought input into an Agreement between the DoJ and City of Portland.
It is from this background, of a broad understanding of deficiencies that could not be remedied by an agreement between the City and the DoJ, that Consult Hardesty sought legislative relief.
Click here to see legislative language under consideration.
Click here to see the progress of Senate Bills 779, 780 & 781 through the Oregon State Legislature.