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Hales promises to replace police liaison soon

Mayor Charlie Hales is not yet sure when and how he is going to replace the most visible local face of his police reform efforts.

Retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Paul De Muniz surprised Hales Wednesday by stepping down from his position on the team overseeing the implementation of the U.S. Department of Justice settlement agreement with the city because of health reasons.

Hale's spokesman Dana Haynes says the mayor will do something quickly, even though the situation is something he hasn't had to deal with before.

De Muniz was the only local member of the out-of-state consulting team contracted by the city to oversee the implementation of the agreement to eliminate a pattern of excessive by police against the mentally ill. Hales has pushed hard to enact all of the parts of the agreement, and has included funds for them in his proposed budget for the Portland Police Bureau next year.

In a Wednesday email to the members of Community Oversight and Advisory Board overseeing the reforms, De Muniz wrote, "I am sorry to inform you that as a result of a private and personal health issue, on the advice of my doctor, I have withdrawn from this project effective immediately. It has been a pleasure to get to know each of you and wish you every success."

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