Report: 911 calls in police-defunded Portland averaging five minute hold time thanks to staffing crisis

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PORTLAND, OR- According to reports, as the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) continues to face a staffing crisis, Portland callers to 911 are now on hold for an average of over five minutes. 

People calling 911 to report a September 4th shootout at a Pearl District restaurant and other emergencies in the following half hour waited an average of more than 7.5 minutes before a 911 dispatcher answered their call.

The lengthy hold time is well above the national standard of 15 to 20 seconds for 911 calls and the latest example of the many serious problems plaguing the city’s emergency dispatch system. 

One man on social media complained that he was on hold for more than 9 minutes when he tried to report the shooting at Everybody Eats PDX. In response to what has been happening, Bob Cozzie, director of Portland’s Bureau of Emergency Communications, acknowledged the unacceptable delay.

He said that it is time for the city to start considering routing non-emergency calls elsewhere or other solutions, adding:

“I think it’s horrible. There’s no other way to state it.”

Cozzie cited a significant increase in the volume of both 911 and non-emergency calls, the loss of call takers and new training that has limited available staff as contributors to the lag.

He said his bureau answers about 1 million calls a year; about 550,000 911 calls and 450,000 non-emergency calls that deal with everything from shootings to car prowls.

From the call center, dispatchers then route emergencies to police, firefighters or Portland Police Response. They often send non-emergency calls to other city bureaus, such as transportation or housing.

The bureau tracks average 911 call answer times by month to gauge its track record.

The data reportedly shows an average hold time of a minute, but it also shows a dramatic increase in 911 calls on hold for two minutes or longer beginning late spring and summer.

According to bureau figures, another striking jump of calls on hold for more than five minutes occurred in May and July. Compared to March, when only eight 911 calls took more than five minutes to answer, that number increased to 221 in May and more than doubled to 574 in July.

Comparing that data to the same time frame in 2020, the bureau has experienced a 20 percent to 45 percent increase in 911 calls so far this year, depending on the week.

For example, during July, people made a total of 63,573 calls to 911. That represented a 22 percent jump from July 2020. For comparison, 911 calls in July 2020 represented only a 2 percent increase over July 2019.

Cozzie stated that more than a dozen employees have retired, taken leaves of absence, been promoted or resigned over the last six months. He added that current staff are still in training on new medical and fire triage protocols. He said:

“We’re at a tipping point now. It’s become unmanageable. The system is broken.”

On September 4th, calls to 911 poured in when three people were wounded at Everybody Eats PDX at the corner of Northwest 10th Avenue and Davis Street. Police said an argument inside the restaurant led to a physical fight with shots fired inside and then more outside.

A manager at the restaurant said the business did not call 911 and declined further comment. However, one 911 called noted on the social media network Reddit that he had to wait more than 9 minutes on hold before a dispatcher answered his call on the shooting.

Another 911 caller wrote on the Reddit thread:

“I called 911, but couldn’t get through. Same with everyone I talk to.”

In the half-hour after the initial report of the shooting, the dispatch bureau processed 115 calls of both emergencies and non-emergencies.

According to Dan Douthit, a bureau spokesman, the average 911 wait time during that period was over seven and a half minutes. He said at least two dozen of those calls were likely linked to the shooting.

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Man who assaulted coffee shop owner and three Portland cops released from custody – yet again

August 20th, 2021

PORTLAND, OR- According to reports, a 24-year-old man accused in a brutal assault on a coffee shop owner and three Portland police officers has once again been released from custody.

The suspect, Jordan Locke, was arrested again on Wednesday, August 18th after missing a court-ordered meeting on Monday the 16th. On August 12th, Locke was arrested after allegedly punching the owner of Lotus and Bean in the face.

Locke proceeded to punch three Portland police officers who were trying to arrest him for the assault on the coffee shop owner. He was booked on 12 charges, including five felonies. However, in the Democrat-run city, he was released from jail.

Reportedly, Judge Henry Kantor signed off on Locke’s release from the first arrest and his release on August 19th came from a different judge, Judge Philip Nelson. 

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said that he was released to the county’s Department of Community Justice’s Pretrial Release Program. Jails in the area, including Multnomah County Jail, have been trying to keep their populations low because of COVID-19 and only admit those considered the most violent.

Locke should have remained behind bars since he assaulted people and since within the last week Judge Kantor issued a “strict compliance order.”

The order stated that if a defendant is found to be in a single violation of any release condition, that person will be booked back into custody and subsequent releases would be denied.

Court documents stated that Locke has mental health issues and that he would “drink enough so the voices would stop.” He also claimed to speak “caveman.” Locke has long criminal history and a history of not showing up for scheduled court appearances. 

In June 2019, Locke was accused of robbery and assaulting a police officer. He was released and repeatedly failed to appear in court. In October 2019, Locke was arrested twice more, once for assault and another for harassment.

In the four months following that arrest, four different bench warrants ordered his arrest for failing to appear for court. In March 2020, he was back in court after he was arrested for a fight in downtown Portland.

In the court documents, it was warned that Locke is “unwilling or unable to follow court direction.” He was released yet again and again missed his court dates. Another bench warrant was signed in May 2020.

However, Locke did not appear in court again until he appeared in custody after the assault at the coffee shop. Despite his long criminal history and his history of not showing up for court dates, he was released from custody the very next day.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said it was not their decision to release the violent 24-year-old. Spokesperson Elisabeth Shepard said in a statement:

“Our office cannot speak to the court’s decision, however, we can confirm that we recommended the defendant in this case remain in custody.”

This is at least the third supervised release agreement for Locke since his 2019 arrest. He is not scheduled to appear in court until December 30th, when he will have hearings for all of the charges from the past two years that he is still facing. It is anyone’s guess if he will actually show up.

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Two killed, others injured in shooting that ‘sounded like a warzone’ in police-defunded Portland

August 10th, 2021

PORTLAND, OR – Police in Portland are actively investigating a shooting incident that left two victims killed and three other victims injured during the early morning hours of August 10th.

Officials have yet to make an arrest or identify any possible suspects involved as of this writing.

At approximately 5:21 a.m. on August 10th, several 911 calls came in about shots being fired within the 3600 block of Northeast 82nd Avenue, located in Northeast Portland’s Madison South neighborhood.

Police reportedly blocked off the area of Northeast 82nd Avenue from Northeast Sandy Boulevard to Northeast Klickitat Street to investigate the scene of the incident.

Local reports noted that several detectives were spotted interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence primarily along 82nd and Northeast Milton Street.

Portland Police Lt. Greg Pashley confirmed that two people were killed during the shooting, and three others were transported to an area hospital for sustained injuries. The identities of the victims have not been released yet by officials.

Dan Berryman, a clinical supervisor at Integrated Health Clinics Northeast (which is located off of 82nd and Milton), said he’d heard the gunshots going off outside of the clinic. Berryman, who previously served in the military, estimated that roughly 20 gunshots likely stemming from a handgun rang off during the shooting.

As the gunshots were going off, Berryman said that he was getting patients inside of the clinic away from the windows. After the 20 shots Berryman heard, he claimed to have then heard five or six shots that he said sounded like they came from a shotgun:

“There was a lot of yelling and screaming and crying. It sounded like a war zone.”

Josh Quiding, who resides in the area of Northeast 85th Avenue and Northeast Fremont, said he could hear the gunfire through an open window inside of his house:

“It started off slow. Two or three pops. Then it was open fire with different calibers and a few shotgun blasts.”

Quiding, who lives with his father, said that one of the gunshots went right past his home and landed in the backyard. He says that the state of Portland has him worried about having his son over at his home:

“It’s scary. My 5-year-old son lives in Pendleton and I have to ask myself ‘Do I want to bring him down here with this going on?’”

Quiding says that he and his father are looking to leave Portland due to the rising levels of violent crime and shootings in the city:

“You hear gunshots almost every night. We’re looking at getting out of the neighborhood.”

Portland is on track to encounter a record number of homicides this year, as these two victims fatally shot during the incident marks as Portland 57th and 58th homicide. For context, Portland’s highest number of recorded homicides is from 1987, which 70 homicides occurred that year.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Please follow Law Enforcement Today as we continue to gather further insight into this developing case.

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Back in July, we at Law Enforcement Today shared a report regarding the ripple effect caused by increasing crime and violence in Portland, where business owners are investing more into the likes of private security. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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PORTLAND, OR— As Law Enforcement Today has continuously reported, Portland, Oregon has been overrun with violent crime since defunding the police. 

Portland’s Mayor, Ted Wheeler, has recently said that more resources are needed to help combat the violence plaguing the once-beautiful city streets. 

In addition to the violent crime, and the fact that the police departments are already stretched thin, Antifa has now reportedly threatened to begin the chaos in the streets again, as Law Enforcement Today recently reported. 

With all of this taking place, business owners are taking measures into their own hands to help protect both their staff and their patrons, KATU reported. 

Multiple businesses have said that they have now purchased bulletproof vests for their staff, claiming this is the latest attempt to combat neighborhood violence.

Brad McCray, owner of the popular night club, Candy, located on NW Couch Street said this comes after a spike in foot traffic and Portland cutting back the police bureau’s entertainment district detail last year.

McCray has reportedly taken it a step further, and is now arming security and patting down every customer that walks in the door.

He said:

“I feel like they are once again leaving it up to us, leaving it up to the small business owner to do what they can, but this isn’t really our specialty, this isn’t what I’m here for,” 

McCray said this is a necessary step to keep people coming back during this time.

McCray added:

“A lot of the clientele, they comment on it. They say, ‘Oh look, these guys. I feel safe now.’ That’s what we want to do is let everyone know that when they’re in here, they’re safe,” 

Despite last year’s entertainment district cuts, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office said it has increased police presence downtown with more daily foot patrols, as well as strategic deployment in certain areas and times, KATU reported.

Dan Lenzen, the owner at Dixie Tavern said that these measures are still not enough.

He said:

“The businesses are going to have to assume a lot more of the responsibility than they have in the past. It’s going to cost a lot more money to do business if we’re open later at night,” 

In response to these businesses having to combat crime on their own, the Portland Police said:

“It is unfortunate businesses have to take such a measure.”

Officers tell KATU the bureau wants to do all it can to serve those who live, work in, or visit Portland.

Although the Portland police would like to do all they can for the businesses, some owners, like Lenzen, said in the current climate, private security feels like a necessity.

He said:

“I don’t think it necessarily is too extreme. For people in charge and people on the front lines to wear vests, I think it’s a safe thing, at least for right now,”

Lenzen said the next concern is the Clean and Safe contract. That provides oversight for downtown Portland. The current contract is set to end in September.

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In other news regarding crime in Portland, an active shooter was reportedly taken down by a local in late June, with police saying the suspect was firing into apartment buildings before being taken down by a neighbor. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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PORTLAND, OR – According to Portland Police, an active shooting suspect was reportedly taken down by a neighbor after firing off over two dozen rounds – that surprisingly hit no one.

The manner in which this active shooter was taken down, according to authorities, was that this neighbor knocked out the shooter and hogtied him.

On June 29th at approximately 1:00 AM, Portland Police say that 32-year-old Luke Stolarzyk fired off approximately 29 bullets an apartment building located in southwest Portland.

A man identified in court documents as John Dickerson, had initially been awoken by what sounded like a loud argument during the evening of the incident. When Dickerson went outside of his apartment, he reportedly saw the suspect with a handgun and a green laser.

Stolarzyk was then said to have went back into his own apartment an retrieved an AR15, which he allegedly began firing the weapon randomly toward a row of apartment buildings. Dickerson had reportedly snuck up behind the suspect and struck him with a stick.

Dickerson was then said to have wrestled the gun away from the suspect, reportedly narrowly avoiding getting shot in the process, and then beat the suspect until he fell unconscious.

By the time responding officers arrived at the scene that unfolded at the Stephens Creek Crossing apartments, the affidavit from the case noted that officers found “several people standing around the defendant, who was hogtied and had been beaten up.”

Police working the scene of the incident were said to have recovered 29 shell casings and the weapon allegedly used by the suspect, noting that they were bullet holes in several cars and apartments within the area.

Video surveillance footage also allegedly shows the suspect shooting at a man that was running through the parking lot, according to authorities.

Stolarzyk was said to have been initially escorted to a local hospital for treatment of his sustained injuries and has since been charged with several counts of attempted murder, reckless endangerment, unlawful use of a weapon, criminal mischief and discharging a firearm.

Bond for the defendant was set at $250,000.

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