Oregon governor's plan to help Portland rejected by outside law enforcement agencies
Two Portland area law enforcement agencies say they will not fully participate in Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's new strategy to protect free speech and end the nightly violence in Portland. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and Washington County Sheriff's Office both say they will not send deputies into Portland because of a lack of political support there.
Joining in opposition Monday evening were the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Sheriff's Association.
Brown's strategy, which was released Sunday, was intended to utilize more local, state and federal law enforcement resources to help the Portland Police Bureau spend more time on investigations and arresting violent protesters. The plan calls on Oregon State Police to continue assisting the PPB while the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office will need to maintain enough space in its jail to hold anyone booked for violent behavior.
But Brown has also asked the Clackamas and Washington county sheriff's offices and the Gresham Police Department to provide personnel and resources to the PPB. All three agencies told KOIN 6 News they hadn't know about the request until Brown released her plan on Sunday.
"This is no different than the mutual aid agreements that have been happening in this region for years," Brown told KOIN 6 News Monday. "Certainly it's critically important that we all work collaboratively to help end the violence in Portland and we are requesting assistance from our local partners and I am hopeful that they can step up and assist."
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office responded with the following statement: "The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office will not be sending our staff into the city of Portland. We will assist the Oregon State Police with their calls for service in Clackamas County as needed while their resources are deployed in Portland."
Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said Brown did not divulge her Unified Law Enforcement Plan with his agency before making it public. Roberts said if he had been made aware of it, "I would have told her it's about changing policy not adding resources. Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder. The only way to make Portland safe again is to support a policy that holds offenders accountable for their destruction and violence. That will require the DA to charge offenders appropriately and a decision by the Multnomah County Presiding Judge not to allow offenders released on their own recognizance, and instead require bail with conditions."
The Washington County Sheriff's Office also has chosen not to send its deputies to Portland. Sheriff Pat Garrett said he is committed to supporting Portland Police through indirect ways "like analyzing risks associated with social media, air support, assisting with a specific criminal investigation, etc. At this time, I do not plan to send deputies to work directly in Portland. PPB is a terrific partner and I am very sympathetic to what they are enduring. However, the lack of political support for public safety, the uncertain legal landscape, the current volatility combined with intense scrutiny on use of force presents an unacceptable risk if deputies were deployed directly. Lastly, I support the steps outlined in the Joint Media Release by the Oregon State Sheriff's Association and the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police, and remain committed to work with partners and community leaders towards peace and an end to violence."
Garrett was referring to the following joint statement from the Oregon Association of Chiefs of Police and the Oregon State Sheriff's Association:
"Over the weekend, members of our associations were approached to assist with policing in the City of Portland. Unfortunately, due to the lack of support for public safety operations, the associated liability to agencies who would be assisting in Portland and the lack of accountability for those arrested committing criminal acts, we cannot dedicate our limited resources away from the communities we serve. We know there will already be an additional burden on local law enforcement agencies as Oregon State Police Troopers are re-assigned to assist in Portland.
"We would propose the following as steps to bring an end to the criminal acts and violence in Portland beginning with a strong statement by elected leadership at all levels that criminal acts are not legitimate protest and that those who commit crimes will be held accountable. There must be support for Law Enforcement actions, through preventative detention and prosecution, when criminal violators are arrested. Finally, there must be publicly voiced support for Law Enforcement and its efforts to protect lawful protesters and hold criminal violators accountable in a very difficult environment."
In a follow-up statement from Brown, a spokesperson said the governor's plan "is meant to allow for local flexibility in supporting each other as we all collectively deal with the difficult situation in Portland."
"We will continue to monitor the situation in Portland and provide guidance and support to the exceptional men and women of the Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and the Oregon State Police who during these challenging times have been there to keep the peace," the spokesperson said.
KOIN 6 News — a partner of Pamplin Media Group — reached out to the Portland Police Bureau for comment.
"I don't believe all these details are worked out. The governor just announced this yesterday and command and the mayor are still discussing," said a spokesperson.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story with video can be found here.
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