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The Portland City Council established the Portland Metropolitan Police Force in 1870. Portland's first Chief of Police, James Lappeus led six patrolmen and one lieutenant. Today, the Portland Police Bureau has approximately 1,000 full-time officers that provide numerous services to our city.
Portland Police - Building Bridges
By Jack Kerfoot
The perception of the police across the country has changed dramatically since the early 2000s. The killing of a young, unarmed black man by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri led to the formation of Black Lives Matters. Studies have shown that confidence and trust in law enforcement has decreased over the last twenty years.
On October 2, 2017, Chief Danielle Outlaw was sworn in as Chief of the Portland Police Bureau. One of her challenges was to increase trust and confidence between police and the community they serve and protect. In April 2018, the city council created a new community oversight group for the Portland Police Bureau. Since assuming command, Chief Outlaw has been actively reaching out to build bridges between the police and the community.
The Portland Police Bureau created a pilot community policing program in 2012. The program was designed to chip away at the years of distrust that had built up between the residents in North Portland's Portsmouth Neighborhood. Today, the pilot program is now a best practice for policing in Portland.
Over the past twenty years, the police across the country have seen an alarming increase in suicides. Portland Police now have easier access to mental health professionals that can help with the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Chief Outlaw has also instituted a wellness program to encourage a healthy diet and maintain their physical fitness.
In my opinion, Portland is fortunate to have Chief Danielle Outlaw leading the Portland Police. She is a role model to young women and people of color that there is a future for them in the police departments across our country.
This article was reprinted with permission from Jack Kerfoot. Jack is a candidate for Portland Commissioner.
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