The Southern Oregon Racial Equity Liaison has been created to serve as a conduit for Black community interactions with law enforcement. The independent program will work in conjunction with the local law enforcement agencies of Jackson County. The goal is to cultivate vocally equitable law enforcement policies in our valley and improve the interactions between law enforcement and the Black community by creating accountable and transparent relations.
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Hate crimes and bias incidents are on the rise, both in Oregon and nationally. It is up to all Oregonians to make sure that everyone is safe in their community. A bias incident is any hostile expression that may be motivated by another person’s race, color, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. A hate crime, known as a bias crime under Oregon law, is any crime where the perpetrator’s motivation is based on bias. Both bias crimes and incidents can be verbal, physical, or visual, and can target someone in a protected class, a family member, or even someone incorrectly perceived to be in a protected class.
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Southern Oregon Racial Equality Liaison
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A Trusted Community Contact
Bridging the gap between law enforcement and the Black community
Recognizing the history of legitimate distrust the Black community has in law enforcement and understanding the need to take steps to build a relationship founded on mutual respect, the liaison will not be a mandatory reporter except for ongoing child abuse or other violence. This will allow more citizens to be able to trust the process and empower them to be able to connect to the liaison for services. The liaison will have a direct line of communication and an established connection with the police chief’s and Sheriff ensuring transparency of investigations into reported bias crimes or allegations of bias base policing occurring in Jackson County.
Liaison Committee Oversight
Accessing and publicizing policing and social service statistics
The Committee will work to establish the following:
- publicize social services statistics and policing statistics regardless of what the statistics show
- report annually on findings and set goal-specific goals to address any inequities if they are found
- ensure relationships are strong with our police departments and sheriff’s office so any complaints of bias base policing are handled thoroughly and transparently according to law
- meet monthly to discuss the progress and needs of the liaisons.
Develop training for the law enforcement community
Anti-racism, implicit bias, and cultural sensitivity training are each critical elements to creating an equitable, diverse and responsible law enforcement community. While we recognize that training alone is not capable of reforming those biases that predominate in American society, the Liaison will play a critical role in ensuring quality, regularity, and progress of training within the Police departments.
In response to the nationally recognized problems, Black community members have endured from policing, the Police Chiefs of Central Point, Ashland, Medford, and the Sheriff of Jackson County have signed commitments to support and collaborate with the Southern Oregon Racial Equity Liaison, recognizing the need to repair and build the relationship between the Black community and local law enforcement.
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Investing in rebuilding community trust benefits us all. Without donations from individuals and local businesses, the Southern Oregon Racial Equity Liaison program would not be possible. Make a Donation
Letters of support and action takers from the following community organizations:
- Ashland City Council
- Oregon Shakespeare Festival
- Ashland Independent Film Festival
- Southern Oregon University
- Medford School District
- United Way
- Southern Oregon Education Services District
- Department of Human Services
- Temple Emek Shalom
Liaison Oversight Committee
Contact the local Committee: