In Preparation for the 2018 General Election and the 2019 Legislative Session

Even though the Oregon Legislature is not in session, ORCOPS is still working to ensure policymakers hear our voice and understand what matters to us.

We’ve just sent out the next round of questionnaires for state legislative candidates seeking ORCOPS’ endorsement for the 2018 General Election. We’ll be carefully reviewing each questionnaire and making endorsements based on each candidate’s answers. We also consider whether a candidate has been a consistent champion for law enforcement. It’s important that candidates know when they have our back, we have theirs.

ORCOPS is also participating in a legislative workgroup, which is considering the issue of officer wellness. This group sprung from efforts by Senator Lew Frederick (D-Portland) to require mental health sessions for officers during the 2018 session. ORCOPS convinced legislators that mandatory sessions were not reasonable or practical for assisting officers. The workgroup was formed in the interim to determine the best course forward to ensure all first responders, not just police officers, have access to voluntary mental health wellness and support. Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) is also participating in the workgroup. ORCOPS has been instrumental in this workgroup, moving the discussion away from mandatory sessions and instead toward requiring broader health care options and workers compensation protections for all emergency personnel.

To that end, ORCOPS is working to have a PTSD presumption placed into Oregon’s Worker Compensation policies. Currently, if a first responder is experiencing symptoms and receives a diagnosis for PTSD, the worker’s compensation system denies most of those claims. It can be very difficult to definitively prove that PTSD happened while on duty. ORCOPS has been demonstrating to the workgroup and to other stakeholders that this often keeps first responders from being able to seek proper treatment. It is our hope that this effort will soon lead to the policy change we seek.

We will continue to work in preparation for the 2018 General Election and the 2019 Legislative Session. We are proud to represent Oregon’s rank-and-file law enforcement professionals and the work you do every day to keep Oregonians safe.

Daryl Turner, President
Oregon Coalition of Police & Sheriffs