By Amanda Essex
In 1995, Oregon passed legislation mandating that every county establish a Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC). Each LPSCC must submit an annual summary to the state’s Criminal Justice Commission.
Multnomah County has an LPSCC, established as required by that legislation. Portland is the largest city within Multnomah County and the executive committee of the LPSCC is co-chaired by the mayor of Portland and the Multnomah County chair. The executive committee meets monthly and also “directs the work of several subcommittees, working groups and affiliated committees.”
The membership of the council is enumerated in statute and includes law enforcement, prosecutors, defense attorneys, representatives of the judicial branch, community corrections and the executive branch, as well as community members and local government officials. Membership is not limited to those specified in the statute and in Multnomah, a state legislator also serves on the executive committee.
Abbey Stamp, executive director, Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council
What is your background and how did you end up being involved with your CJCC?
I have worked for Multnomah County since 2003. For several years I was a family therapist for high-risk probation youth. In 2009 I moved into program development and system change efforts related to child welfare and juvenile justice. In 2013 I responded to a job opening for the executive director of the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC), and after five interviews was chosen.
When and how was your CJCC created? What was the initial intent and/or goal of the council?
The LPSCC was created in 1995. Each Oregon county has an LPSCC, and the original core mission is to approve the state juvenile and adult community corrections plans. However, our scope of work has increased significantly since 1995.
What are some of the specific goals and efforts of your CJCC?
Current efforts include implementation of state justice reinvestment grants and programming, administration of the MacArthur Foundation's Safety + Justice Challenge, managing jail population, implementing the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Assessment strategies, and many others.
How has your state legislature been involved with your CJCC? How can they support your work?
We have had participation from a few local legislators. In recent years, we have partnered with the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission to increase criminal justice best-practice knowledge among lawmakers. Our connection with legislators is quite good and has grown recently with the support of our Government Relations office. I think this connection will continue to grow in years to come.
What are some of the biggest successes of your CJCC’s work? What about the biggest challenges?
Our biggest success is our ability to meaningfully collaborate. This is shown by our justice reinvestment work and the jail reduction strategies. Our biggest challenge is how to have criminal justice-focused meetings and also having meetings focusing on other partners like education and healthcare. Of course, funding is a challenge. All system actors would like more resources for data, evaluation and analyses.
In your efforts, who have you found needs to be at the table for the CJCC to accomplish its goals?
There needs to be a table for the criminal justice actors only in addition to a larger table for other topics. I have worked to ensure the right people are at the right tables. The key is to have trusted relationships and the right combination of participants.
This is the second in a series of blogs featuring interviews with members of local criminal justice coordinating councils. The first blog is here. Interviews may have been condensed and were conducted in late 2018 by Amanda Essex, NCSL Criminal Justice Program senior policy specialist.