PORTLAND, ORE. – Portland just lost a huge chunk of its police presence.
On Friday, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts wrote an email to his deputies, stating his concern for their safety.
“I will not place you at unnecessary personal and professional risk,” the email read.
The city of Portland is largely patrolled by the Portland Police Bureau and receives support from neighboring counties like Clackamas Sheriff’s Department. With this decision, remaining officers in the area will no doubt feel the stress of being understaffed.
Plus, Portland is bracing for its next protest. May Day is May 1st, and a protest for immigrant and worker’s rights is set for downtown. In 2017, 25 people were arrested in the gathering after the rally turned into a violent clash.
VIDEO: 'Riot' Erupts in Portland, Ore. May Day Protest pic.twitter.com/IOr2g4qQId
— azcentral (@azcentral) May 2, 2017
Demonstrators were charged with disorderly conduct, arson, theft, assault, vandalism and more. Officers maintaining order at the march were quickly attacked by left wing anarchists who threw full cans of soda and other projectiles.
The decision to stop responding to routine calls was made following a statement released by the Portland Police Association.
Due to the overwhelming ‘anti-police’ attitudes in the city of Portland, some officials are stepping in to say ‘no more.’ Enter – Sheriff Craig Roberts.
“The reason the Police Bureau is experiencing catastrophic staffing shortages, drastically declining recruiting success, and the inability to retain officers is due to one core issue: the intense anti-police sentiment in our City that City Council seems to share,” the post from the PPA read.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is concerned. He asked Sheriff Roberts to wait to enact his decision until after the May Day protest, but failed.
“ICE is responsible for terrorizing & imprisoning the migrant community of PDX.” #Antifa #Portland is organizing a May Day protest against border enforcement “fascism” on Wednesday at 1 pm at Elizabeth Caruthers Park. pic.twitter.com/Lp5dtvNyTi
— Andy Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) April 29, 2019
“My own belief on this is pulling out a few days before sends a signal that people who might come to those demonstrations with the intention of doing harm, potentially vandalism, it send a signal that the Portland Police Bureau is going to be under-resourced. I was hoping he could hold off until after the May Day demonstrations but I was unable to persuade him to do that,” Wheeler said.
“False narratives, knee jerk political reactions, along with personal and political agendas have created a hostile work environment and made it an impossible task to effectively police in the City of Portland. Our police officers are frustrated. They deserve better. They deserve to work in an environment where they can perform their primary function — keeping our communities safe — with the support of City Hall. Similarly, our communities are frustrated. They deserve better. They deserve safe, clean streets. It’s that simple,” the PPA’s post read.
“Our elected officials need to prioritize basic city services, the most basic of which is public safety and livability. They can start by doing three things: improving the livability of our drastically deteriorating neighborhoods; supporting the incredible work our officers do to keep our communities safe; and having enough police officers to satisfy our communities’ public safety needs.”
Portland officer have repeatedly been told to stand down during past protests. Mayor Wheeler tends to side with the liberal agenda, taking protests as just people expressing their feelings. But things have gotten violent a number of times.
I had actually looked into applying for Portland at one point. But when I saw the protests and mayhem over there I immediately pulled my interest. I see enough of that here, but Portland is a whole different level of anti-Police.
— T.J. Young (@LEOTJYoung) April 30, 2019
LET columnist James Lewis is a former LEO and served in the Air Force. He used to live in a suburb outside Portland, and is upset to see the way it has changed over the years. One of the biggest issues in the area?
The Police Commissioner also sits as the City Manager. Conflict of interest? Many say yes. The same individual that is supposed to be the head of local law enforcement is also making daily decisions about city works, budgets and more. Portland heads even consulted the head of Black Lives Matter when creating the 2019 contract for police.
“Portland used to be a really cool place,” Lewis said about the city. “It had a really strong logging and logistics industry. It changed a little when I was there in the 90’s, but since I’ve left, it’s gotten a hundred times worse.”
Lewis says companies like Intel and Nike drew lot’s of families from California up to the city. Those families stayed, thus leading to a big change in culture.
“It won’t get any better until the commissioner is removed,” said Lewis.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Department also made a similar move in February, announcing they would be be providing less support for Portland calls.
Sheriff’s Roberts’ email to his deputies can be read in full below.
Sheriff’s Office Change in Services within the City of Portland
To all Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office employees: I want to give you an important update on changes to services we provide in the City of Portland.
As you know, our command staff and executive team have been actively assessing the risk of your work within the City of Portland.
Recently, Undersheriff Brandenburg met with many of our deputies assigned to answering routine calls for service in the City of Portland to listen to their concerns related to safety. I’ve also had conversations with other city, state and federal law enforcement leaders, including Portland Police Chief Outlaw. Lastly, I’ve taken into account the Portland Police Association’s concerns outlined in their April 8 statement, which you can read here.
As I said in my earlier email on this topic, I will not place you at unnecessary personal and professional risk.
As a result of these and other assessments, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office will pull back all staff responding to calls for services within the City of Portland in the coming weeks. Those actions are as follows:
We are working with TriMet to develop a new Intergovernmental Agreement that will reassign deputies to meet the public safety needs of citizens accessing TriMet within Clackamas County. We intend to continue assigning one sergeant and six deputies to provide timely responses for law enforcement services and maintain passenger safety.
With respect to deployment of special teams, we will evaluate requests for assistance on a case-by-case basis. This applies to SWAT, the Crisis Negotiations Team (CNT), and the Rapid Response Team (RRT/CERT).
We will continue our participation on the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
No changes will be made to operations involving Corrections staff who work the Electronic Home Detention Program, Parole and Probation staff who supervise clients in the City of Portland, and the Metropolitan Explosive Disposal Unit (MEDU). All will continue with their regular duties.
I don’t make these decisions lightly. I appreciate and commend the difficult work Portland Police officers do every day, and I also commend Portland Police Chief Outlaw for her leadership in a very difficult environment. I admire her commitment to improving public safety and community relations.
As Sheriff, your safety and the safety of Clackamas County residents remain my top priorities. Our work is dangerous enough without adding unnecessary risk when responding to calls for services in the City of Portland.
I also want to make this clear: We will always respond to help any officer from any agency in immediate need of assistance.
Take care of each other and be safe.Craig