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New Audit: Portland Sees Progress In Sexual Assault Investigations

OPB | Feb. 25, 2014 midnight | Updated: Feb. 25, 2014 2:20 p.m. | Portland

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The Portland Police Bureau says it’s making changes to sexual assault investigations, in line with the recommendations of a city audit.

A new audit was released Tuesday on the Portland Police Bureau’s sexual assault investigations. It’s a follow-up to a report issued seven years ago.

In 2007, the City Auditor’s office issued a report on how Portland was responding to sexual assault cases. It found the city falling short: few medical resources were available to victims; many 911 operators weren’t consistently providing victims procedures on how to preserve evidence, and there was high turnover among detectives.

The new report finds progress overall. More medical resources are available to victims. Turnover among detectives is lower, but 911 operators are still inconsistent in giving instructions to victims about how to preserve evidence.

Drummond Kahn is the director of Audit Services for Portland. He says this audit compares operations with 2007.

“And what we found was that there’s been significant improvement in many areas, but the audit recommendations point to the few areas where progress can still be made,” Kahn said.

Kahn says those include requiring detectives to try to follow up with victims before they close a case.

Sergeant Greg Stewart is with the Portland Police. He says the bureau has made significant changes to policies, procedures, and training.

“A couple of the items that we can’t implement are related to data and that’s only because we’re implementing entirely new records management system.”

Stewart says it’s a gradual change, but the bureau hopes to become better at tracking information.

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