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The Portland Police Bureau has hired Emily Covelli, who has worked at Portland State University's Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute, to serve as the bureau's new training analyst.
Covelli, 38, who has a masters of science degree in criminology and criminal justice from Portland State, was hired in April to fill a bureau position recommended by federal justice investigators.
In her new role, she'll be responsible for "developing and evaluating training curriculum to ensure officers are in compliance with state requirements, current police bureau policies and best practices," according to the bureau's job description.
She'll also be expected to evaluate the effectiveness of Portland police training to improve instruction, course quality and curriculum.
Federal justice investigators, who found that Portland police engage in a pattern or practice of excessive force against people with mental illness, recommended the bureau hire a training analyst.
Since 2011, Covelli has worked for the bureau as a crime analyst, helping to examine bureau use of force and officers' encounters with people with mental illness. Since 2008, she's conducted research studies on the impact of race and other characteristics from police traffic stop and search data in Oregon.
Covelli was one of two applicants for the job. Her annual salary is $62,337.
Bureau spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson said the bureau conducted a "limited (internal) recruitment" for the job. He said the type of position "does not typically warrant a national search by a city bureau."
"Given Ms. Covelli's educational background in research statistics, program evaluation, and research methodology, her experience applying research and evaluation skills in training and training evaluation for law enforcement, and her nationally recognized expertise on training evaluation, she was evaluated to have exceptional qualifications for this position," Simpson said in an e-mail. "Ms. Covelli also demonstrated passion for the work and a commitment to contribute to the bureau's and community's goals for continuous improvement of the Portland Police Bureau."
The office of Mayor Charlie Hales, who serves as police commissioner, was not involved in the appointment, said Dana Haynes, the mayor's spokesman.
On Covelli's resume, she has listed as examples of her community service: assisting a Washington County corrections instructor in her anger management and women's stress management classes; providing communication classes for women incarcerated at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, and providing consulting service to a Junction City Police intern conducting a business satisfaction survey for the police agency.
"Part of what drew me to apply is the complex, practical and partnership nature of these (training) analyses," Covelli said in an email. "There are multiple stakeholders invested in training for law enforcement, many with very different perspectives. It is important to collect multiple forms of data, identify the underlying mutual needs while also respect and incorporate the unique perspectives that officers and community members contribute, and examine the outcome trends in police and community member interactions. Compiling information from a range of sources is important for ensuring that the training for officers reflects the various needs in law enforcement."
In related action, federal officials urged the Police Bureau to adopt guidelines to govern the selection of officers that serve as trainers and ensure that those officers do not have a history of using excessive force.
Under a new procedure adopted by the bureau, training instructors must have at least three years experience as a full-time officer, no disciplinary action or documented cases of poor job performance "that could be detrimental" to the training division, and no sick time abuse in the past year.
However, a training division manager could make exceptions to any of the criteria, under the new guidelines, except for the following: An instructor must not have a history of excessive use of force or mistreatment of people with mental illness within the last three years or twice in the last five years.
The bureau has appointed Capt. Pat Walsh to serve as "compliance coordinator,'' to monitor reforms resulting from the federal investigation and Clay Neal, a former aid to former Mayor Sam Adams, to serve as the bureau's "Department of Justice Police Reforms Manager.''