November 21, 2011 07:48In interviews with KGW and KPTV on Thursday afternoon, I stated that a call involving a rape victim had not been handled by officers for three hours due to police resources being tied up with Occupy Portland. The reality was more complex. I subsequently learned that the call I referred to occurred on November 6, and there were a variety of factors impacting police resources that day, including Occupy Portland. On Friday, the Portland Police Bureau released full details surrounding this incident and our response, which you can read here.
It was not my intention to mislead people, especially around an incident as serious and sensitive as a reported sexual assault. I spoke about the incident without knowing all of the details and made assumptions that were not correct. I apologize; I should have gathered all of the information before discussing it publicly.
The past six weeks have strained police resources. During this time many officers, sergeants, detectives, and command staff have worked long hours with little time off. We are working hard to provide the quality service the public has come to expect, but it is sometimes a struggle. I also know from talking personally to many of the protestors, that they too are tired from the unique challenges of this unprecedented movement.
This may be an opportunity for us to collectively take a pause and reassess the way the police and protestors have been approaching this situation, to find a uniquely Portland solution. Today, we tried something new. Our Incident Commander Mike Leloff met with protestors before a march and asked if they wanted a police escort. When they told him no, he asked that they self-police their event and obey the law; police would only respond if there were complaints. The march participants agreed, and the event proceeded without any problems, or a police presence.
This is a model of cooperation that we could build upon for future events, and I want to thank today's marchers for making this possible. We all share a responsibility for public safety and respecting the rights of everyone in our community. I look forward to further dialogue with Mayor Sam Adams and Occupy Portland protestors about how we can maintain a safe and welcoming
community, while respecting the right to free speech.
Sgt. Pete Simpson