New police Chief Resch vows to continue improvements
Mayor Ted Wheeler said Monday that he chose new police Chief Jami Resch because he and Resch wanted to continue bureau changes started by former Chief Danielle Outlaw.
"I pledge to continue to support all of the great work that is already being done," Resch told reporters in her first public appearance since accepting the job in late December. "I plan to continue the commitment to ever-improving PPB and our relationships within the community. Now is the time to continue the momentum. It is not the time to remain status quo or veer in a different direction."
Wheeler told reporters during a Jan. 6 press conference that the goal was "seamlessly continuing the great work that's already taking place within the Portland Police Bureau."
Resch, 45, became police chief Dec. 31, one day after Outlaw was named police commissioner in Philadelphia. Resch was hired by the bureau in 1999 and has worked in several bureau positions. She became a sergeant in 2008. She was promoted to lieutenant in 2012 and became a captain in 2016. Outlaw promoted her to assistant chief in May 2018, and then to deputy chief on May 23, 2019.
"I have five years left here and I would love to spend every last one of those standing right here in this position."
Resch said she would continue to improve community relationships and would focus on reducing gun violence, citing the seven shootings that took place early on New Year's Day. She promised transparency and expressed support for equipping Portland officers with body-worn cameras. As other chiefs have before her, she expressed concern about police staffing levels, saying the bureau faces waves of new retirements that could worsen to the situation.
But she struck a very positive tone, repeatedly complimenting police officers and members of the public she's worked with.
"The best part about this job 100% hands down is the people," Resch told reporters. "The people who work for the Police Bureau, the people I've got to meet, the friendships that I've made. You know, when everybody retires from the Police Bureau, that's what they miss the most. And I know that that's what I'll miss the most when I do leave, which is not going to be anytime soon."
Outlaw left after two years as chief. Resch noted she has five years until she qualifies for retirement.
"I have five years left here and I would love to spend every last one of those standing right here in this position," she said.
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