Portland Police survey shows morale basically can’t get much worse among cops: ‘Lack of faith in leadership’

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PORTLAND, OR – In a recent press release from the Portland Police Association, the union representing Portland Police officers, the results from their July 2021 survey regarding their members’ views on current leadership and support from officials shows that officers have a general “lack of faith in leadership and perception of little to no support from City Hall.”

According to the results shared by the Portland Police Association, the union had received over a 70% response of the survey sent out to their 780 current members.

Some of the key findings from the survey were outlined as follows:

  • 92% of rank-and-file members of PPB feel no support at all from City Hall. In contrast, 89% feel at least some support from the community.
  • Over 93% do not feel valued as an employee of the City of Portland and report that the lack of support greatly affects their morale.
  • Over 69% report that the Chief’s Office offers little to no support for the work officers do and only 14% believe there is any commitment at all to building morale.
  • Nearly 90% feel the Chief’s Office is disconnected and out of touch with what’s going on within the rank-and-file. And over 71% don’t feel comfortable voicing their concerns.
  • On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), overall job satisfaction was rated between 3 and 4 with many confirming that they’re on the lookout for police jobs elsewhere.
  • 92% feel the Chief’s Office is ineffective at public relations and over 95% feel the Chief’s Office fails to adequately handle political issues that affect the PPB.
  • Over 90% responded never or only once in a while when asked how often the District Attorney’s office was fulfilling its role in pursuing justice on behalf of our Community when people are accused of breaking the law.
  • 96% are supportive of having body-worn cameras for every Portland Police officer.

The citing that “92% of rank-and-file members of PPB feel no support at all from City Hall” is hardly surprising, when seeing that City Hall is home to none other than the City Council offices which consist of Mayor Ted Wheeler and city commissioners.

Which among those commissioners is Jo Ann Hardesty, which we at Law Enforcement Today have covered numerous reports that highlight Commissioner Hardesty’s habitual vilification of Portland Police and championing the idea of police defunding.   

Then there is the portion of the survey results that found over 93% of officers “do not feel valued as an employee of the City of Portland”, which also makes sense since the Portland Police dealt with riots exceeding 100 days in length and officials explored defunding portions of the department during this crisis in the city.

But the problems going on in-house with respect to the PPB is also concerning, with 69% of survey respondents saying Chief Chuck Lovell “offers little to no support for the work officers do”, only 14% saying the chief is committed to “building morale”, 90% alleging Chief Lovell is “out of touch” with the ongoings of rank-and-file officers, and 71% saying they “don’t feel comfortable” bringing their concerns to leadership.

These sentiments shared by survey participants make it all the more understandable that “overall job satisfaction was rated between 3 and 4 with many confirming that they’re on the lookout for police jobs elsewhere.”

In the press release regarding the PPA survey results, PPA Executive Director Daryl Turner noted that during the review of the survey, may of the answers delivered were “hard to read”. Some of the comments Turner shared that came from the survey criticized the Multnomah District Attorney’s Office, which were as follows:

  • “It is difficult to work the streets every day and help those in need when I know that our DA will not prosecute most or all the people that I hold accountable for their actions.”
  • “Why is the morale gone…? Any work I do as an officer is never prosecuted or sentenced. I feel like it’s Groundhog’s Day. Move the transients around, watch the criminals go free, and repeat.”
  • “If the DA and City Council supported rank and file, morale would be better. They make our lives politics rather than recognizing we are human beings.”

Turner said that these results from the survey convey a clear message on what city officials and PPB leadership need to do to resurrect the morale of officers:

“Portland residents want our city leaders and elected officials to step up and lead us up and out of this crisis and the survey confirms that our Officers are looking for leadership and support. To start digging us out of this mess, we need a fully funded and staffed Police Bureau—it will uplift morale and give officers the resources they need to protect and serve.”

Turner added that the constant “us vs. them mentality” needs to be cast aside and city leaders need to approach a more collaborative method to reestablishing the PPB to a status where officers feel pride in their work:

“We need your help. We need your support. We are all part of this community together. We are all sick of the us vs. them mentality. We solve problems by working and standing side-by-side, together.”

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Back in June, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on the entire Rapid Response Team resigning from the Portland Police Bureau. Here’s that previous report. 

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PORTLAND, OR – The Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team, the unit responsible for policing protests in the city, voted unanimously to resign on Wednesday during a meeting with the police union.

This follows the criminal indictment of an officer for assault stemming from a riot in August 2020.

The Rapid Response Team, a group of police officers that volunteer for the post, is deployed to respond to riots, civil unrest, and demonstrations in Portland.

Response team Officer Corey Budworth was indicted this week for alleged excessive force used during a riot last year.

A second Rapid Response Team member, Det. Erik Kammerer is being investigated by the Oregon Department of Justice over similar allegations.

On the night of August 18, 2020, Antifa militants threw a Molotov cocktail into the County Sheriff’s Department Headquarters as the Rapid Response Team struggled to contain the riot. Officer Budworth was using a baton to hold back rioters when he struck a female in the head.

Officer Budworth struck activist photographer and rioter Teri Jacobs with the baton in the head from behind, then again as she fell to the ground. Video of the incident spread through social media.

The officer stated the strike was accidental, and the use of force was cleared by an independent investigation as being within use-of-force policy compliance.

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt disagreed and his office indicted Officer Budworth this week on one count of fourth-degree assault.

The Portland Police Union said the prosecution of Budworth was “politically-driven”:

“Unfortunately, this decorated public servant has been caught in the crossfire of agenda-driven city leaders and a politicized criminal justice system.”

Portland Police Association Executive Director Daryl Turner told the Lars Larson Show, a local radio program, that he was concerned officers would resign because of the prosecution, which he called a “witch hunter.”

A source within the Portland Police Bureau told The Post Millennial that Officer Budworth’s indictment was a blatant attempt to “hold police accountable” despite the victim not coming forward on her own accord. The source said that an attorney observed the video online and approached Jacobs about pressing charges.

A Portland officer said that the resignations from the response unit leave the city unprepared, even as massive demonstrations are once again planned for the upcoming weekend:

“Now that the riot team is no more, we have no clue what’s going to happen. We don’t have enough patrol officers to be pulled from the road to handle huge crowds. We are only backups with no gear like the riot team has.”

District Attorney Schmidt has consistently refused to charge rioters in Portland while focusing on police actions. His office announced in August 2020 that his office will not prosecute many protesters who have been arrested during Portland “demonstrations.”

Schmidt said:

“As prosecutors, we acknowledge the depth of emotion that motivates these demonstrations and support those who are civically engaged through peaceful protesting.

“We will undermine public safety, not promote it, if we do not take action to bring about immediate change.”

Prosecutors will scrutinize the cases of protesters accused of resisting arrest or assaulting a public safety officer and consider “the chaos of a protesting environment, especially after tear gas or other less-lethal munitions have been deployed against community members en masse,” the district attorney’s office said in a news release.

By the end of May, Schmidt’s office had rejected almost three-quarters of the 1,057 protest-related arrests referred by police.

While not prosecuting protesters, the DA is reviewing incidents in search of other officers to indict. After announcing the indictment of Officer Budworth, Schmidt said that several other use-of-force incidents are under review:

“We have looked at multiple cases already and I think there are still several more that we’re continuing to look at.”

Schmidt asserted that Officer Budworth’s case was not unusual, implying that other officers may be charged:

“This is one case of multiple that we’re looking at and have looked at. So, it’s not necessarily an outlier that way.”

Schmidt commented on the findings of the Portland Police Association that Officer Budworth followed proper procedures and training:

“If that’s true, I think that is problematic. We can’t be training officers to do things that violate criminal law.”

Schmidt also admitted during an interview with OPB’s Think Out Loud that his prosecutors are actively reaching out to “victims” observed on videotapes of police responses to gather complaints against officers because he claims it is hard to determine harm or injury from watching a video:

“I can’t say specifically how many we’re looking at, but when people are interested in reporting and there’s evidence there, we review it and decide whether or not to go forward.”

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