As summer ends, I’d like to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, professionalism, and perseverance of the rank and file members of the Portland Police Bureau. Over the last few years, catastrophic staffing issues have plagued this organization. The writing was on the wall, yet ignored until our citizens realized that the lack of police officers in neighborhoods caused dangerous livability issues. If something isn’t done to reverse the declining staffing trend in the Bureau, our communities will suffer from the lack of resources and prompt response times that they deserve.
Proactive policing has almost become a thing of the past because officers are stretched to their limits just responding to calls for service. Detectives are so overwhelmed with cases that it’s impossible for them to provide the quality of investigations that they expect from themselves. The Gang Enforcement Team is losing critical staffing just as they were able to curb the trend of record gang violence that Portland experienced last year. Other units vital to the function of the entire Police Bureau are taking cuts because we are not adequately able to perform our number one function: responding to calls for service.
Our new command staff is tasked with bolstering staffing levels at the precincts to relieve some pressure from the men and women who are working too many hours, asked to perform too many functions, and tasked with being the multi-faceted resource for communities that have diverse and ever evolving needs.
The rank and file of the Portland Police Bureau are recognized nationwide for the work we do under the most difficult of circumstances. We have the best and the brightest; other police agencies reach out to our people for new job opportunities. The Portland Police Bureau should be a place that takes care of its own.
As we move forward to resolve the disastrous staffing crisis, all the decision makers must be singly focused on keeping our communities safe and retaining the well-educated, trained, experienced, and dedicated professionals of the Portland Police Bureau who serve our city.
Daryl Turner, President
Portland Police Association