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Human Rights Group Coalition Requests To Be Involved with Police Chief Hiring Process

Several Eugene area human rights and social justice groups have teamed up to form Human Rights Work, and the coalition is asking the city of Eugene to be part of the hiring process for the new Eugene police chief to replace retiring Chief Pete Kerns.

Erin Grady, an organizer with the Civil Liberties Defense Center, says the group “put out a call to social justice organizations and concerned citizens in the city who want to come together to form a coalition to be part of this process.”

Together, Human Rights Work has sent a letter to Mayor Lucy Vinis, City Manager John Ruiz and the Eugene City Council requesting for the hiring process to be transparent and inclusive.

Ibrahim Coulibaly, chairman of legal redress with Eugene Springfield NAACP says Human Rights Work wants to be part of the hiring process as early as possible.

“We really want a police chief that will be aware of minorities and also willing to commit that his or her officers will be trained properly when dealing with minorities, people with disabilities, the homeless and people who are marginalized in our society.”

The letter is below.Eugene Weekly will be following this story.

Dear Mayor Lucy Vinis, City Council of Eugene, and City Manager Jon Ruiz,

We, Human Rights Work, are a coalition of Human Rights and Social Justice groups that have come together to bring our voices, opinions and concerns to the process of hiring a new police chief for the City of Eugene. We are requesting a meeting with the City Manager to discuss our values, concerns and how we can be a part of this process. We are made up of Eugene groups and organizations that represent and advocate for a better, more equitable life in this town for all its inhabitants. Specifically, we represent groups that are traditionally under-represented in city decisions, and that are on the receiving end of racism, sexism, cissexism, classism, homophobia and other kinds of oppression. We realize that the decisions and management of the Eugene Police Department are decisions that affect the safety and well being of our communities, as well as the expenditure of our tax dollar resources, and we want to be a part of this hiring process.

We believe in a police force that maintains public safety, respects people’s rights, supports people’s health, helps facilitate the rehabilitation of those who need it and fortify peoples’ ties to the community. We want a police force that minimizes harm, prioritizes de-escalation, works with community groups, arrests sparingly and moves to end policies and tactics that result in racially disproportionate outcomes. We want an EPD that respects the city’s Inclusivity Ordinance and the potential extension of it. We have seen ways that the EPD meets these needs for our community and ways that it needs to improve in order to accommodate the diversity of humans who live here.

The City Manager has said that this will be a transparent process, and we hope to know more specifics of what that will look like. We are asking to be a part of this process as early as possible. Specifically, we would like to be 1) involved in the hiring of a national recruiter and in the recruitment process, including providing review and contributions to the job description and list of qualifications desired. 2) We would like our values to be included in forming criteria for reviewing applications. 3) We also want to have a seat (or several seats) at the table in order to assess potential candidates and make a choice, including attending interviews, attending discussions of candidates and observing the decision making process.

Thank you for your time.



Centro Latino Americano

Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)

Friends of Sanctuary

Civil Liberties Defense Center


Occupy Medical

350 Eugene

Trauma Healing Project

Eugene Springfield Solidarity Network


United Front