Walking beats: Mayor Hales revived walking beats, with police officers patrolling neighborhoods on foot — the old-school method of policing. Ten officers were assigned to pilot programs in downtown and on Southeast Hawthorne. They proved to be a tremendous success for business owners, residents, people who are homeless, service providers and police. Dennis Lundberg, associate director of Janus Youth Programs, said: “For me, and I’ve doing street outreach for over 13 years, it’s like having a whole ’nother team of street outreach workers out there. Their level of empathy, compassion, the way they’re engaging young people experiencing homelessness should be applauded. And I agree with Israel [Bayer, executive director of “Street Roots”]: This should be a national model.”
Equity manager: Mayor Hales budgeted one new hire for the Police Bureau in the 2014-15 budget: An equity manager to help the bureau become more diverse in personnel and operations. The manager will report directly to Police Chief Larry O’Dea, providing the clout necessary to achieve change.
Mental health specialist: In the fall supplemental budget, Mayor Hales allocated $75,000 for a mental health specialist to aid police reform and assist the city as a whole in serving those with mental illness.
National Night Out: Neighborhoods responded in force to the Office of Neighborhood Involvement’s call to celebrate National Night Out this summer, holding 100 events across the city. Public safety agencies attended, supporting Mayor Hales’ priority to build relationships with the communities they serve. The mayor attended four events, including those in neighborhoods that had experienced a rash of gang-related violence this summer.
Don’t Shoot Portland: Mayor Hales talked one-on-one with 50 Don’t Shoot Portland protesters in December 2014, following a series of downtown demonstrations regarding police use of force. The mayor invited key organizers, but when they arrived with upward of 70 people, he did not turn them away. After two hours of talking, he and the group agreed to six meetings over six months.
Use of force: Under Mayor Hales’ leadership, police use-of-force incidents continue to decline, with just 575 use-of-force incidents in the first three quarters of 2014. Once fourth-quarter data are compiled, they likely will show far fewer incidents than the previous low, 948 in 2013. New police training emphasizes de-escalation techniques, and the mayor and police leadership have made de-escalation a priority.
Human trafficking survivors: The Portland Police Bureau worked with community partners to raise nearly $1 million to support human trafficking survivors. Human trafficking is increasingly common in Portland, and is one of the causes behind the recent increase in gangs’ presence, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney.
Smooth Transition between Chiefs: In October, Police Chief Mike Reese announced his retirement after 25 years with Portland Police. In the first smooth transition in 20 years, Mayor Hales the same day named Assistant Chief Larry O’Dea as the new chief. He’ll take over Jan. 2, 2015. “Larry O’Dea is one of the most decorated officers in the bureau — 11 medals and 75 letters of commendation,” Hales said. “He shares my goals and aspirations. He has been living the idea of community engagement. He has led the bureau’s equity work. He has the respect of the command staff, the rank-and-file, and the community. He is the right leader at the right time.” READ MORE
Patrol Cameras: Mayor Hales in the first budget he directed secured $800,000 for police cameras, both body and dash cameras, in an effort to build community trust through transparency. READ MORE
Gang Violence Task Force, now Community Peace Collaborative: The task force, chaired by the mayor’s office, coordinates police, county, school, nonprofit and community for enforcement and outreach. This summer, while the group strategized a response to an increase in gang violence that had rattled the city, it also reported successes: Former gang members had settled into jobs and school; an apartment complex responded to numerous shootings by creating a neighborhood watch. Mayor Hales has directed his office and its partners to work on leveraging Portland’s growing economy to connect young people and ex-offenders with jobs and education. Most recently, per a community-member’s suggestion the group changed its name to better represent its mission: Community Peace Collaborative: A Coalition for Violence Prevention and Achievement.
GIFT: The Gang Impacted Family Team provides services to individuals and families who are most entrenched in the gang lifestyle in an effort to break intergenerational cycles of gang involvement. In 2014, with Mayor Hales’ support, the Office of Youth Violence Prevention won a second year of grant funding for a full-time coordinator. Over one year, June 2013-14, GIFT linked 42 adults and children to resources.
Enough is Enough: North Portland residents, in response to gang-related shootings in their neighborhood, formed the “Enough Is Enough” campaign, supported by the mayor and police. The community-led campaign calls for residents to stand together against gangs by coming forward as witnesses, enabling police to arrest offenders and creating an environment in which gangs cannot operate. Mayor Hales dedicated staff time and resources to the campaign. READ MORE
Staffing Study: A Council-mandated staffing study was completed in October to guide bureau reorganization for better service, increased efficiency, and improved collaboration within the bureau.