Archives Ben Gorban

National Police Foundation publishes review of the Portland Police Bureau’s response to mass demonstrations that occurred between 2017-2019

February 12, 2021 — Through a contract with the City of Portland, the National Police Foundation (NPF), recently published the results from a review that examined the responses of Portland police to mass demonstrations and counter demonstrations that occurred in Portland, Oregon, on June 4, 2017, August 4, 2018, and August 17, 2019. The official report, “Preparing for and Responding to Mass Demonstrations and Counter Demonstrations in Portland, Oregon,” drew on a comprehensive analysis of materials, video, interviews, on the ground observation, and extensive NPF subject matter expertise and experience conducting reviews of other agency responses to mass demonstrations. This analysis was focused on PPB policies, training, procedures, and practices at the time of the events and their immediate aftermath and is intended to provide objective feedback to the City and the PPB as they work to improve and to learn from experiences.

The key findings and recommendations centered on planning, preparation, deployment, training, and equipment; incident command; policies, protocols, and strategies; public communication and messaging; and, the after action review (AAR) process. The findings were based on four major themes:

  • Citywide planning and support for unified responses to mass demonstrations assist in strengthening the overall public safety response, making the response more collaborative, resourced, measured, and effective.
  • Continued prioritization of planning, preparation, management, and training for mass demonstration responses is important to strengthen the effectiveness of police responses to demonstrations.
  • Clear, consistent communication with demonstrators and other community members is key to facilitate public safety and build trust.
  • Fostering a culture of learning enables organizations to learn from promising practices and lessons learned to continually improve the organization.

The City selected NPF to conduct an independent assessment of the Portland Police Bureau’s response to mass demonstrations and First Amendment Assemblies after Mayor Ted Wheeler called for an independent investigation reviewing PPB’s actions leading up to and during demonstrations involving alt-right and anti-fascist protestors. NPF, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization with no membership interests was tasked with a review that would contribute to learning and encourage continual evaluation, improvement and evolution of the Bureau’s mass demonstration responses as opposed to assigning blame. The NPF assessment team, in fact, intentionally and by design, veered from issues under active investigation or litigation so as to not interfere with those important processes.

The specific goals of the assessment are as follows:

  • To independently assess PPB’s response to demonstrations on June 4, 2017 and August 4, 2018 and other relevant incidents from a variety of perspectives that include PPB personnel, community groups and members, and other stakeholders.
  • Conduct analysis of where improvements can be made in PPB policy, planning, practice, training, tactics, staffing, and resources.
  • Identify ways to strengthen communication and relationship building with community members and demonstrators.

The City chose the NPF for a variety of reasons including its many years of experience conducting similar reviews and the experience of its review team. NPF maintains an expansive library of similar reviews that can be found and accessed by the public at

It is important to note that all data collection, writing, and development of recommendations in the report occurred prior to the death of George Floyd. As these incidents continue to evolve, NPF encourages communities and police departments to work together to bring peace, to listen to each other and to learn from responses that enable free expression while keeping life and property safe.

Media inquiries should be directed to James Middaugh, Director of Communications, Office of Mayor Ted Wheeler at

New Publication Released: How to Conduct an After Action Review – A Guidebook for Agencies of All Sizes

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and the National Police Foundation will soon be releasing a guidebook detailing how to conduct an after action review (AAR). The guidebook defines the AAR process following incidents and exercises of all sizes and provides an overview of their importance to law enforcement and public safety agencies committed to creating a culture of learning. It also identifies common themes and brief summaries of key findings, recommendations, promising practices, and lessons learned from 20 AARs of mass violence and mass demonstration incidents. It concludes with a detailed step-by-step guide for law enforcement agencies and relevant stakeholders to conduct an AAR with explanations of each step, how the steps tie into the larger process, and additional guidance.

The guidebook also lays out evidence supporting the need to incorporate the AAR process into everyday activities and provides a solid framework and suggestions for undertaking this work in law enforcement agencies of all sizes. AARs are critical to organizational learning and strengthening responses in an evolving and increasingly complex environment. Creating and instilling a culture that encourages continuous learning is vital to ensuring first responder safety and wellness and building effective responses to enhance community safety.

As part of the COPS Office’s effort to provide guidance and education about AARs, a new eLearning course designed for all levels of police practitioners—developed by the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation (VCPI)—has also been released on the COPS Office Training Portal.

To access the AAR Guidebook, visit the COPS website at, and to sign up for the eLearning course, visit the COPS Office Training Portal at For more information about conducting an AAR, the AAR process, and a library of mass violence and mass demonstration AARs visit

Law Enforcement – Mental Health Learning Sites Expansion

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the Police Foundation, selected four law enforcement agencies to join the Law Enforcement – Mental Health Learning Site initiative. The Madison County (TN) Sheriff’s Office, Arlington (MA) Police

Department, Jackson County (OH) Sheriff’s Office, and Tucson (AZ) Police Department were chosen through a competitive process to participate in the BJA-supported initiative. These four agencies join the current six sites to deliver peer-to-peer learning through a diverse cross-section of model strategies and examples of successful collaborations between law enforcement and mental health agencies. The 10 learning sites offer their experiences and expertise to promote strategies that can save the life of an officer, community member, or family member.

Read about the Expansion of the National Law Enforcement – Mental Health Learning Site Program and visit the Law Enforcement Mental Health Learning Sites website to access the Police – Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit and to learn how to request technical assistance with a similar collaboration project in your area.

New Report: Rescue, Response, and Resilience: A Critical Incident Review of the Orlando Public Safety Response to the Attack on the Pulse Nightclub

On June 12, 2016, what began as an active shooter incident when a lone gunman entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and began shooting innocent club goers transitioned into a barricaded suspect with hostages incident and ended as the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since September 11, 2001. This Critical Incident Review provides a detailed overview of current active shooter and hostage negotiation protocols within the context of a terrorist event; leadership and interagency relationships; tactical response and command and control; equipment and training; emergency medical care; officer safety and post-event responder wellness; post-incident investigation; media and public information; and, community engagement.

To read the report, click here.

To view the interactive e-report, click here.

Help Inform the Community Engagement Playbook

Together, the Police Foundation, the Policing Project at NYU Law, and the National Urban League have partnered to conduct a comprehensive, nationwide survey of effective best practices for police-community engagement. We are surveying both police departments and community members and organizations to learn about the many ways that departments engage their communities.

To learn more about the surveys and the project, visit:

Police Foundation’s Chief Behavioral Scientist Dr. Karen L. Amendola Elected President of the Division of Experimental Criminology!

The Police Foundation is very pleased to announce that Dr. Karen L. Amendola has been elected as the new President of the American Society of Criminology’s (ASC’s) Division of Experimental Criminology (DEC) Executive Board. The Division of Experimental Criminology (DEC) is one of 8 divisions in the American Society of Criminology. The DEC seeks to promote and improve the use and development of experimental evidence and methods in the advancement of criminological theory and evidence-based crime policy.

Throughout Dr. Amendola’s long and distinguished career with the Police Foundation, she has led a number of experimental studies in policing, including the Police Foundation’s Shift Length Experiment, the first national randomized controlled trial of various shift lengths among officers in two police departments (Detroit, MI and Arlington, TX), designed to illuminate shift length impacts on officer fatigue, alertness, satisfaction, stress, overtime, and productivity.

The Police Foundation enthusiastically supports Dr. Amendola’s election to this very influential position and looks forward to sharing Dr. Amendola’s expertise and leadership with the criminology community. The Police Foundation is also very pleased to see Dr. Amendola joined by former Police Foundation Senior Research Associate, Dr. Travis Taniguchi (now at RTI) on the DEC executive board.

For more about Dr. Amendola’s background and work, visit her staff page on the Police Foundation website.

Check Out the Police Data Initiative’s Website Refresh!


The Police Data Initiative is a national network designed to enhance understanding of crime and public safety and accountability between law enforcement and the community through open data. To date, over 130 law enforcement agencies nationwide, large and small, have joined this community of practice. In doing so, they are taking extraordinary steps to advance the field nationally, and build collaborative relationships locally to improve public safety.

The Police Foundation has recently completed a refresh of the Police Data Initiative website. Check out the Police Data Initiative website here, and follow the links below to view our other resources on police open data.

New Publication – Community Policing & Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Guidelines to Enhance Community Trust

uas-cover-largeEnsuring the safety of the public is a core mission for all professional law enforcement agencies. In pursuit of this mission, law enforcement leverage many different types of tools, including new and emerging technologies.  One of these latest technologies is the small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS).

“UAS technologies provide law enforcement agencies with unique capabilities for rapid, safe, economical and effective responses to a wide variety of public safety tactical challenges. Harnessing these capabilities requires not only the skills to operate the technology, but the input and understanding of the community and a pledge to operate the technology in a transparent manner. This is what community policing is all about,” said Jim Bueermann, President of the Police Foundation and former Chief of Police in Redlands, California.

While the sUAS has significant potential to improve operational efficiency as well as officer and community safety, there are understandable and legitimate concerns about privacy risks. To help law enforcement agencies address these concerns, the Police Foundation is releasing new recommendations for local law enforcement agencies considering the use of small unmanned aircraft systems for public safety purposes. Community Policing & Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Guidelines to Enhance Community Trust provides comprehensive guidance on all aspects of UAS use in public safety, including operational, training, and legal and regulatory compliance considerations.

The guidebook reflects the recommendations provided in five focus groups by law enforcement practitioners and community members on how to best achieve consensus building between law enforcement and the communities they serve on the use of sUAS. The focus group sites were Los Gatos, California; San Bernardino County, California; Draper City, Utah; Morristown, New Jersey; and Milliken, Colorado.

The guidebook also reflects the strong recommendations of the project advisory group that any sUAS program must be created as a public benefit, with public backing and the highest level of transparency, if it is to succeed. This imperative is reflected in both the framework and the language of the guidebook and the importance of maintaining and advancing community policing values is reflected in each section.

To view and download the full report, please click here.

Dr. Karen L. Amendola Named to Third Circuit Task Force on Eyewitness IDs

Dr. Karen Amendola, Chief Behavioral Scientist, was recently appointed to the Third Circuit Task Force on Eyewitness Identifications. Dr. Amendola is one of 17 members appointed by Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee (and co-Chaired bkaren-amendolay Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg) to this task force, charged with making recommendations regarding jury instructions for the evaluation of eyewitness identification testimony, and the use of expert testimony. The goal of the task force is to make important recommendations “pertaining to eyewitness identifications and testimony that can minimize the risk of wrongful convictions.”

Dr. Amendola was the lead investigator on a series of Police Foundation eyewitness identification field studies. She has published widely on the findings with colleague John Wixted in both the Journal of Experimental Criminology and the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, and has authored the Evidentiary Strength Rating Scale (with Meghan Slipka, 2011).

New Brief: “The Career Pipeline Concept and the California POST”

In collaboration with the California Police Chiefs Association and the California State Sheriffs’ Association and with funding from the California Endowment, the Police Foundation is proud to release the final brief in a series of youth–focused policy briefs, “The Career Pipeline Concept and the California POST.”


To meet the challenges associated with recruiting and retaining a workforce that is representative of the community, sheriffs and chiefs are exploring creative ways to attract and retain underrepresented candidates to law enforcement. Using POST Career Pipeline concepts, that involve engaging students in structured school-based public safety career pipeline programs, agencies in California have been at the forefront of efforts to recruit, train, and hire qualified candidates that represent gender and racial diversity represented in their community. This brief introduces the Career Pipeline concepts and highlights examples of how law enforcement agencies and schools can bridge the gap between officers and students and encourage youth to consider careers in law enforcement.

This is the final brief in a four-part series of youth-focused policy briefs produced to enhance law enforcement knowledge and understanding of youth development in an effort to improve outcomes for youth interactions with law enforcement. California law enforcement executives, and those nationwide, can use this tool as they examine their policies and processes for ways to improve approaches to youth. The first three in this series ‘Issue Brief 1: Introduction’, ‘Issue Brief 2: Teen Brain: Preparing Your Officers to Engage with Youth’ and ‘Issue Brief 3: Defining the Role of School-Based Police Officers’ were released earlier this year.  

For more information, visit the Youth Policing Project page.