Petition calls on Portland Police to enlarge badge numbers
A petition demanding that the Portland Police Bureau make officer badge numbers larger to increase visibility has collected about 2,250 signatures in the past month.
Protesters in Portland have been demonstrating against police brutality and systemic racism for more than a month. The petition, published on Change.org, asks the Portland City Council to "mandate police badge numbers be printed in large font across the chest, back and pant legs of officers."
Brian Betcone, a 19-year-old, white Portland resident who created the petition about a month ago, said the change would be a reminder to police that they can be held accountable for their actions. "It's easier to see the name of the checker at the grocery store than the name of the officer who is carrying a lethal weapon," Betcone said.
Betcone called it a "tiny step" that the city can make toward larger policy accountability and said other things need to be done as well. He supports calls to defund the police and to eliminate qualified immunity for police officers.
Enlarging the badges wouldn't put officers in danger of being "doxed" — publishing private or identifying information about a person online for malicious purpose — because officers' names would not be displayed, Betcone said. Instead, an independent group like Don't Shoot PDX would hold a list of officers' badge numbers and names, he said.
"It's a really easy, common sense thing," Betcone said.
Betcone said he first saw the idea to enlarge police officer badge numbers on Instagram. He created the petition independently, he said, not wanting to pull focus from groups that are working on police accountability proposals more broadly.
Betcone no longer is seeking additional signatures, he said, and is instead focusing on getting it in front of Portland lawmakers.
The petition is addressed to the Portland Police Bureau, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland City Council, among others. A spokesperson for Wheeler declined to comment, and the Portland Police Bureau did not respond to requests for comment.
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