Crime Trends and Solutions in Portland's 3 Precincts - Talking Beat
Portland has three precincts, Central, East, and North precinct. Police Commanders for each precinct provide some insights into what is going on in each of their precincts and some of the creative strategies they're using to address crime
Crime Trends and Solutions in Portland's 3 Precincts - Talking Beat
Portland has three precincts, Central, East, and North precinct. Police Commanders for each precinct provide some insights into what is going on in each of their precincts and some of the creative strategies they're using to address crimes.
Also we answer the question: "Why does it take so long for police to show up on some calls?"
Announcer: Welcome to Talking Beat, the podcast for the Portland Police Bureau. We're focusing on thoughtful conversations that we hope will inform and provide you with a small glimpse of the work performed by Portland police officers, as well as issues affecting public safety in our city.
Announcer: Here's what's on today's show.
Commander Hager: The main message is to be involved. The police department can't resolve all issues. We are facing a severe staffing shortage, likely not to get better and so we are going to be stretched thin. I think the community needs to stay engaged and stay involved and know that we need their help.
Announcer: This episode of the Talking Beat is brought to you by: Through the good work of the Portland Police Sunshine Division, officers are able to bring emergency food to people 24/7. Sunshine Division also operates two warehouses where community members in need can access free food and clothing. Learn more at sunshinedivision.org
Announcer: Now onto the show.
Host: Today we're talking to our precinct Commanders. Portland has three precincts, central, east, and north precinct. They're going to provide us some insights into what is going on in each of their precincts and some of the creative strategies they're using to address those crimes.
Host: Commander Mike Krantz overseas Central Precinct. Let's talk about your precinct and what the boundaries are and what makes your precinct different from the others.
Commander Krantz: Well, Central Precinct is the downtown precinct, known as by a lot of folks. But reality is that we cover a lot of lower southeast. We have the general boundaries of, if we go on the southeast side, Milwaukie all the way north to 84, all the way up to the east end of 39th. So it's a large lower southeast area, a lot of neighborhoods in there and it's unique from the west side that we cover down to Washington County line, or Tigard, and west all the way out to the Washington County boundaries or the city of Beaverton. And then as far north, on the west side of the river, up to up Highway 30 toward St. John's Bridge.
Commander Krantz: So we have a pretty large area that's got a lot of unique neighborhoods, industrial business, downtown core. Central Precinct is an area that's often the protest or demonstration area more than other geographical areas in the city. We have the business core in Central Precinct as well as also challenged by a dense homeless population that is impactful to a lot of the businesses, community members, and also has challenges among itself with addiction and mental health on the streets. So there's a lot of challenges for calls for service that relate to those specific circumstances.
Host: And you also the Entertainment District.
Commander Krantz: And we have the Entertainment District.
Host: That's a lot of people coming into it a dense area and then leaving.
Commander Krantz: Yeah, so typically Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest. We have between 10 to 20,000 visitors a weekend in the small area of Everett to Burnside and second to fourth. High concentration of alcohol establishment outlets and we have a dedicated team of six officers in one sergeant for that amount of visitors. So there's a lot of alcohol outlet down there. A lot of, I call them influenced folks, frequently. We have a substantial calls for service down there during those times, often fueled by alcohol or just some folks decide to get in assaulted behavior and a lot of fights. So it's a big job for that small team to try and manage that area. It's also an opportunity for a lot of the community and a lot of visitors to come down and enjoy the nightlife of the city. So it's a challenge there to keep it viable but also keep it safe and handle the problems.
Host: Commander Wendy Steinbronn oversees North Precinct. Let's talk about your precinct and what the boundaries are and tell me a little bit about it.
Commander Steinbronn: Well, North Precinct moved into a new building several years ago at Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Killingsworth Street. So longtime Portlanders will remember the original North Precinct, which is up on North Philadelphia Avenue, and that currently houses our Traffic Division. So there are no patrol officers that report out of there. But we're all at the 449 Northeast Emerson Street building. That is a community policing center so we also house the tactical operations division and youth services division.
Commander Steinbronn: North Precinctto is about 58 square miles. The northern boundary is the Columbia River and we go west to the Willamette with the exception of Highway 30 and the Germantown area. We do cross the St. John's bridge and patrol that area and then we go south where it meets into Interstate 84 and that's the boundary between us and east precinct. And then we go east out to northeast 162, when you start to get into Gresham.
Commander Steinbronn: So what makes North Precinct unique is that we have the Lloyd district, which includes the Lloyd Center Mall, Moda Center, the Convention Center. We also have the Memorial Coliseum in our jurisdiction boundaries and the airport to the north. Now the airport is patrolled by the airport police. They have their own police department, but we do interact and help out with them in that area as well.
Host: And we also have Commander Tashia Hager here today. She oversees East Precinct. Let's talk about east boundaries and tell me a little bit about your precinct.
Commander Hager: So East Precinct.covers the newest area of Portland. A large part of it used to be unincorporated Multnomah County and that was taken in by the city of Portland many years ago. The geographic boundaries: To the south we a border Clackamas county. To the west we border Central Precinct at 39th or Cesar Chavez Boulevard. To the east we touch Gresham and then to the north we border North Precinct, mostly along the I-84 freeway with the exception of some of the Rocky Butte area, which is East Precinct.
Commander Hager: I would say for the most part East is highly residential. I mean we do have some businesses, some shopping areas like Mall 205 and and Gateway. But it is a largely residential neighborhood. Very diverse. East precinct, has a large number of different immigrant populations that have moved there. It is a very diverse neighborhood.
Host: So all of you have really different precincts, but you've face some of the same crime, trends as well as some different ones. So talk to me about what's going on in your precinct. What's trending upward?
Commander Steinbronn: Well at North Precinct, the number one property crime issue is auto theft and we've been doing directed specific missions toward reducing auto theft for about six months now and our current numbers show that our auto theft is down about 4% and we are just starting to hit the tip of the iceberg, if you will, on the longer term investigations where we've identified individuals that seem to do this for a living. They steal lots of cars and they seem to be hanging out in one specific geographic area. And so we use data to pinpoint that and that's where we focus our efforts and resources on.
Commander Steinbronn: Now that spring break has come and gone, we have the speed racers back in town. They definitely tend to be seasonal. They start up around March and they'll go through July, early September. What we're seeing a lot more of in the last couple of years is the so-called sideshows and those come up from northern California and these folks like to come up.
Commander Steinbronn: They'll take over a freeway or a bridge overpass and they'll do their sideshow, which includes drifting, if you've ever seen Fast and the Furious, I think these folks are trying to emulate that and they like to put it on YouTube and post it and get a lot of people interested in what they're doing.
Commander Steinbronn: The one thing that I will say about that, and it's not kids, so a lot of people say, "Oh it's just the teenagers out having fun." It's not, it's older adults. They spend a lot of time building their cars and they want to go out and show them off. But obviously the city streets and freeways and overpasses are not the location to do it. It's not safe. And last year we did have a speed racing related fatality, along Marine Drive and we'd like to avoid that in the future.
Host: And what are the challenges that you face trying to address that?
Commander Steinbronn: Well some of the challenges is there's a lot of them in one spot at one time. And so we'll have a mission going where we'll have a team of officers that go out and once they learn that they're gathering in one spot, they'll go to that area. And then when you have 20 plus cars and they all take off in different directions, that can be hard to stop and identify who's doing this.
Commander Steinbronn: But we do use photo radar, especially in key spots where we know that they're gonna open it up and increase their speed. We also use our air support unit that can help us identify cars that are out driving in a reckless manner and then we can follow them and stop them later on. And then people are coming from outside in. So it's not just Portlanders that are doing this. We have people come down from the state of Washington, as far away as Tacoma, and as I previously mentioned, the side show enthusiasts that come up from the bay area, specifically Oakland and San Francisco and the surrounding areas.
Commander Krantz: So at Central Precinct we have some unique challenges specific to the geographical area. When I came into Central Precinct looking at data and looking forward on where we should be putting resources at, we really noticed a couple things that were pretty pretty obvious in the data, specifically around assaults and the feeling of safety around the community specific to these assaults.
Commander Krantz: Second Burnside on the west side has been consistently, over the last year at least, an area where assaults and assaults with edge weapons. So knife assaults have been the highest in the city and in in trade I would suspect highest in the state just because we have the most population in the state. So that became an area where we really needed to concentrate a lot of resources to reduce the violence. Specifically around assault and edge weapon assaults over the last six months.
Commander Krantz: Along with that we had another opportunity to address open air drug use and drug traffic in an area around North Old Town, is what we refer to it as, and we're around six to Broadway, Irvin Hoyt area, and the really prolific open air drug trafficking that's going on. And so for the last six months we've been concentrating on reducing that and as well as addressing violent behavior at Second Burnside and really about four blocks in all directions from that center.
Commander Krantz: Over the last six months we've made a pretty drastic impact on the reduction of assaults. There was a high of about 42 assaults a month in that area in Second Burnside. We've reduced that down all the way to a low of 12 at one point and in the month of January we had zero aggravated assaults. So we've made a big impact. What that does though is draw quite a bit of number of resources and assets from our patrol division to do that work. So as well as detectives on follow up and a lot of support services.
Commander Krantz: We couple enforcement with a, a lot of service providers, so our behavioral health unit, our service coordination team as well. Some of our partners from service agencies that assist us to really work in an area prior to any enforcement and work it by offering services, by trying to reconnect people to services that they've had before, or counselors, and then they fallen out of program. So getting people back into programs and off the street or out of the cycle of violence, drug use, or drug dealing, which really impacts a lot of the overall feeling of safety by a lot of people. Both that are involved in homelessness or that are involved in addiction and they're on the street, as well as community members who live in the area or businesses that either own or operate or employees.
Commander Krantz: So there really is an impact overall by a lot of people that feel that when violence occurs in an area, it makes them feel unsafe. So it really is important that we try and do as much as we can to for an overall feeling of safety.
Host: Yeah. I mean, to be honest, Mike, I've heard from a lot of people that they're frightened to come downtown. They may have the perception that there's more crime downtown and I'm sure you hear that a lot. What do you say to those people?
Commander Krantz: I do and I go to a lot of community meetings and business meetings and hear the same complaints that the residents or business members don't feel safe and from stories they've heard, which frequently the stories perpetuate a problem that maybe didn't necessarily occur to them, but they've heard through friends, or they've heard through media and that makes them feel more unsafe because their stories out there.
Commander Krantz: When I talk to community members, I think it's important to get the true numbers out and really talk to people about areas that they work in or they live in and the true numbers around that so they can understand and have a better understanding how to access that data themselves so they can see trends that go up and down and using the open data portal on the police borough's website to really see specific data for their neighborhoods and to have a better understanding, to be informed and educated about what actual crime trends are occurring in central precinct.
Commander Krantz: A lot of it is being specific to the actual problem and where the problems and crime is happening and really specific to understanding that a lot of the crime isn't stranger on stranger necessarily. There's certainly a piece of that that is occurring and I really talk to folks a lot about being aware of their situation, being aware of being vulnerable, if they're leaving things in their car for car theft, if they're carrying items and not paying attention to what's going on around them. It's definitely some personal responsibility that needs to be taken on.
Commander Krantz: Understanding that there are people out there who do intend to do harm to people and to be aware of that and to be cautious and to travel, not alone if they can help it. But it is important to understand that people have some personal responsibility they have to take in a big city. But ultimately we don't want to cause overreaction of fear when it really isn't based on truth.
Commander Krantz: So there is crime, there is crimes of violence. But in reality, in the city of this big, I think we're like the eighteenth largest city metro area. Our crime is fairly low and it's important to keep that in perspective is what I tell a lot of community groups that I talk with.
Commander Hager: So for each precinct I would say we experience some of the same crimes as the other precincts. In the Police Bureau we've made significant efforts to really look at our crime data and make database decisions. And I think that's important. I mean for East, really, we've been looking at the level of crime around our public spaces in the gateway area and Mall 205 and Commander Krantz was talking about public perception and the impact of public perception and part of the process that we used was to go out and actually do a survey of our community members that work in that area just to see what their perceptions were.
Commander Hager: And so I think that's an important piece of what we do, is not only try to actually have an impact on crime numbers, but also have an impact on people's perceptions of safety, which their perceptions aren't always accurate.
Commander Hager: Sometimes stories or things happen that create a heightened level of fear that's not necessarily something that we want to see with our community. I think the other thing in east precinct that we're really looking at is what numbers, or what is our data not catching. And for East Precinct really that's looking at many of our immigrant communities who are coming here from countries where the police are not there to help, are part of the problem. And they're very afraid of law enforcement to begin with. So some of these communities are being victimized but they're not reporting it to the police. So trying to bridge that gap with some of the communities in east precinct is something we've been working on specifically in this last three to four months.
Commander Hager: We had a couple of people who created, I would say, a little crime wave in our Asian community in grabbing purses from women who are leaving grocery stores or other shopping places. And that created a level of fear in that community because word spread very quickly that that was happening. And so the fact that we were able to go in and meet with different community groups, meet with some of their business leaders, develop a relationship, have a conversation, and most importantly actually identify who was doing that and arrest them. So we were able to stop that from continuing to happen.
Commander Hager: And East Precinct has quite a few shootings. So we work with the gun violence reduction team to try to address that issue too.
Host: When people think of precincts, I think often they think of just officers answering 911 calls. But you all have some specialized teams. You all have neighborhood response teams that work on more preventative things or missions. Tell me about some of the teams that you have.
Commander Steinbronn: Well, north has a neighborhood response team that consists of a sergeant and five officers and they do not respond to radio calls. They work on the longer term neighborhood livability like nuisance properties or the drug house on the corner that the neighbors are calling about.
Commander Steinbronn: As far as the auto theft goes, one area that we've been very successful in is that the community members assisted us with the notice that there was one particular location where a lot of different cars kept showing up. They took video of it for us and then once we surveilled that area for a while, we realized that that's where a lot of the stolen cars were going to and we're recovering them from that area.
Commander Steinbronn: And so we're working on a longer term investigation on identifying and arresting those people. So the community's help is really key in the neighborhood response team's effectiveness as well as working on some of our larger crime problems. They also work on organized retail theft. And so I mentioned Lloyd Center Mall earlier. We also have the Jantzen Beach and Cascade Station, which both house many different retailers and we do have a problem with these organized theft rings that go through and steal things and run away. And we use the NRT team to focus on those retailers that are experiencing a lot of loss and identifying that core group of people that seem to engage in this for a living and hold them accountable as well.
Commander Krantz: At Central Precinct we have a couple of units specific to Central Precinctand then we also house some units that are bureau wide in service. So we have the neighborhood response team with seven officers and a sergeant and they're responsible for specifically follow up to criminal activity that's affected the neighborhood. So if we have, similar to the other two precincts, where there is a complaint of criminal activity specific to a house that are just a longterm problem, they're free to serve those problems.
Commander Krantz: They also do a specifically a lot of work in the homeless community. We have two homeless outreach officers specifically assigned to NRT to do that work. We also have a street crimes unit made up between four officers and a sergeant from central and two officers from north precinct and they jointly work on problems that are more of a criminal nature that occur in afternoon shift hours is where they work.
Commander Krantz: So criminal nature specific to street crime type activities. So open air drug sales, they're working a robbery case right now specific to the activity and in both precincts. We also have a Portland patrol incorporated bicycle team. So there's six officers dedicated to working in the contract area of Portland Patrol Inc, which is primarily downtown core and old town. Made up of about 5,000 different businesses in the area. But they specifically patrol on bicycles in the downtown core. So they're not responsible for radio calls, but they are responsible for proactive and engagement work in the downtown area.
Commander Krantz: We have an Entertainment District detail at night. That's six officers and a sergeant. They work 8:00 PM to about 4:00 AM and then they adjust their shift with depending on what's going on for events. But they really work just in the area that's designated as the entertainment district.
Commander Krantz: And we have the Behavioral Health Unit Service Coordination Team that is assigned to central precinct, but they're bureau wide resource for call followup on behavioral health or mental health issues as well as the service coordination team, which is really used as a diversion to law enforcement.
Commander Hager: So East Precinct has a neighborhood response team, which is a currently one sergeant and six officers. It has historically actually worked on vacant houses, which became a huge issue during the housing crisis crash. And as houses became vacant, they didn't stay vacant. They became occupied by people who didn't own them or rent them or were supposed to be there. So that created some issues.
Commander Hager: The neighborhood response teams in Portland have historically been about neighborhood livability issues. So really working with neighborhoods in different parts of the city to address livability issues that aren't always criminal issues. So one of those things, really, that's hugely impactful in our neighborhoods, in east as in the other precincts, is the houseless issue. And you know, not necessarily the people, it's the stuff. So you know, neighbors come out and one week there's one tent and then the next week there's three tents and before they know it they have a small encampment of 20 to 30 people and tarps and garbage and needles and all sorts of things that I won't mention on the podcast but that's what the NRT team at east is really I'm going to be focused on is trying to address that.
Commander Hager: And then we just started a street crimes unit. That's one sergeant and four officers and really the street crimes unit will be dealing with some of the criminal issues. One of the things that came out in our survey was that the perception of what is driving some of the crime, and I think this is not just perception but reality, what's driving the crime in east precinct is drug-related. So really addressing drug related crimes or issues, trying to figure out who's selling, where they're selling, and dealing with that particular issue, which is pretty large city wide. It's not something that's easy just to make one arrest and solve the issue.
Host: How do you guys cross over and how do you work together?
Commander Steinbronn: Well, at North Precinct, as Commander Krantz mentioned, we have two officers with the street crimes unit. Typically they'll work in an area where it's got the hotspot and it may be in north precinct one day. It may be over in central the other day, in the downtown core area, or in the lower east side. So we share resources that way.
Commander Steinbronn: We have the opportunity to use specialty units such as air support and the traffic division and they will go to any precinct to help us with our missions and so we combine resources and share resources that way. We also obviously make use of the behavioral health unit quite a bit to help us with calls. Also we have a cadre of officers that are trained in the enhanced crisis intervention, if you will. We have them available to go out on calls where someone may be experiencing problems with mental illness. They may be at a crisis point where we can go out and we have a specially trained officer that they can talk to them and deescalate the situation.
Commander Krantz: You know, the one thing that I really enjoy as being Commander right now in Central Precinctis relationship with the other two Commanders. We have the opportunity to where, maybe it's not always like this, but really we just call when we need something in and we share resources pretty easily. And I think that's something bureau wide that we're getting really good at. And it really is because we're at a point of where we need the help from everyone else. We can no longer be siloed and specialized in the roles that we're doing because of our resources bureau-wide are so low.
Commander Krantz: So every time we have a retirement boom and we lose more officers and resources, it's even more important that we all work together to solve problems. And it's a real good working relationship internally among all the divisions right now, really of just sharing resources and not being siloed in just a special tasks and skills that you have. But using those bureau wide and it's important to be able to share those.
Host: And you mentioned data. Are we getting better at looking at the data and analyzing it and trying to pinpoint where things are happening?
Commander Krantz: I think we have gotten much, much better just in the last year and a half, I'd say bureau-wide, in using data to be specific about what resources we're putting where. So evidence led or data led policing is 21st century policing and we are getting very good at it. Not only are we internally using data better and we have better resources for us to build to look at it, understand it, and then utilize it. We've also done substantial work on the public side. So the community has an opportunity, unlike most police departments, I would say if they look at our open data site, the community will see that we are leading in the nation as far as the amount of data that we are transparent with, that we provide, that we have out there multiple different platforms for people to use. And if people want to be informed around what's going on in their city and the police and crime stats, it is a great place to go.
Host: So, what is the message you want to tell people? If you're at a community meeting and you get the microphone for a few minutes, what's your main message?
Commander Hager: I would say the main message is to be involved. The police department can't resolve all issues. Like Commander Kranz was talking about, we are facing a severe staffing shortage that's likely not to get better. And so we are going to be stretched thin. We are working really well together. I have to reiterate that the relationship piece, especially among the Commanders, to really share resources and address issues that are having an impact on all of us, is gonna be paramount moving forward.
Commander Hager: But I think the community needs to stay engaged and stay involved and know that we need their help. We aren't going to be able to do it for them. Sometimes in the past, I think that we have just taken up that mantle and resolved the issue. But I think moving forward we need them to be involved.
Commander Steinbronn: So at north we have a quarterly meeting, our public safety action committee meeting. And so we bring a lot of partners to that. So it's not just police that are answering questions. 'Cause many of the complaints I get, it's not something the police can serve. If we get a parking complaint then that should go to parking patrol. If we get a complaint about a large encampment, I would really encourage people to go to PortlandOregon.gov's website and there's a section for one point of contact. That's where you can report homeless encampments or encampments that seem to have disorder and criminal activity around them. And that office is who is really responsible for posting the camps and doing the outreach to the people that live there and offering them an alternative and then eventually cleaning it up if it becomes too large.
Commander Steinbronn: I also get questions about, "Well, what can we do as a community?" And what I would encourage people to do is get to know your neighbors. When you call the police, what you're going to get is usually we're coming to restore order, investigate a crime, and if we determine that a crime has been committed and the people are still there or we can locate them, we will arrest them and they will go to jail. And not all issues that arise in a neighborhood need police response.
Commander Steinbronn: I'd also like to direct people to our website, PortlandPolice.com because we have online reporting and many people aren't aware of it. It's free. There's certain crimes that you can't report on their. Anything where there's suspect information or it's a very serious crime. Obviously we don't want you to report an assault on there because we'd like to do some more investigation on that.
Commander Steinbronn: But this is a way for community members, say their car gets broken into. There's no suspect information, there's no evidence that an officer needs to come and pick up. But they do want to report the crime and they should because that helps us in our data driven policing, pinpointing where the crimes are actually occurring. So we do want people to make a report. So you can go to that site and it'll walk you through how to make an online report. The advantages are you'll get a reference number right away and once a police officer reviews what you've submitted, they will email you a copy of the report with the actual police case number. So that's a convenient way of reporting crime if there's nothing for the officer to follow up on in that moment and it meets a certain criteria, which you can see on the website.
Commander Steinbronn: Also, you can still make a report to nonemergency and we have a telephone reporting unit that can take some of these calls over the phone. And again, it would be something where there's no suspect information, there's no leads to follow up on, there's no evidence to be picked up, but it needs to be reported. So I would encourage people to use those platforms. And the non-emergencies number is (503) 823-3333 and you'll listen to a voice message and I believe it's you press two if you want to talk with a law enforcement officer and they'll triage the call from there.
Commander Krantz: So for Central Precinct, a couple of things that I really hit on at community meetings, I go to a lot of community meetings and, like I said, business meetings. I listen to a lot of people's concerns or complaints around what they believe is police responsibility. But I think the biggest thing is to understand that public service, criminal justice system, service providers, is one big wheel with a lot of spokes. And there's a lot of belief out there that the police should be doing something, or they shouldn't be doing something, or they should solve this problem, or they shouldn't solve that problem. But the reality is that I think a basic understanding around what police do and what our primary function is.
Commander Krantz: We're one spoken that big wheel. We are the only spoken that wheel that deals with law enforcement and it's really important to understand that we show up, we understand that people believe we are the government when we show up because we are the people. We are the face of government. When an officer shows up, someone calls for help, we're the face of government. But the reality is there's a lot of government behind us that does a lot of jobs that isn't our responsibility or role. And then there's no one else that does our job.
Commander Krantz: So understanding that we have a role to fill and it's law enforcement, it's holding people accountable for criminal behavior. We do a lot around that. We do a lot of diversion. We do a lot of service providers. We do a lot of referrals. We get really good at solving problems with other resources. But understanding that there's a much bigger picture behind what we do is critical for the community as a whole to know.
Commander Krantz: I use that because there's a lot of folks who, for instance, think that downtown the police deal with homeless issues. We've criminalized homeless issues somehow or we arrest people for being homeless. That's just a huge false narrative.
Commander Krantz: So for folks to really understand, the bigger picture is, and I'll take homeless specifically because that is something I deal with a lot downtown, a lot of concerns, is that we really have completely backed out of the responsibility of taking on homeless issues per se for entrenched encampments and activity around someone sleeping on a sidewalk. There is nothing that we enforce about that. There is no criminality to that specifically, of being homeless, and it's important to understand that.
Commander Krantz: What we do is stand by for the HUCIR program, which is the Housing Urban Camping Impact Reduction program, out of the office of OMF, supported by the mayor's office and we stand by for security when they request it.
Commander Krantz: Again, we don't to participate in cleanup of camps. We don't participate in any enforcement around sleeping or homelessness specific. We do address criminal activity or open drug use or sales or assaults or weapons or anything else that's specific to crime that we are expected to and that we are the only agency that does provide that service.
Commander Krantz: So simply understanding the the much bigger role that police have around law enforcement and that there's so much other government services out there that provide a lot of the other work that people think we do or should be doing is really just a basic understanding that I would really like to get across the community. We are pretty limited in what we actually do out there. Although we are the face of government when we show up, we're not the solution to everything.
Host: Well we always end every show with the most important question. We embrace our stereotypes here at the Portland Police Bureau. So what's your favorite donut? Wendy?
Commander Hager: Maple bar. Oh, sorry I interrupted.
Commander Krantz: She's excited about getting a donut.
Commander Hager: Although I could go with an apple fritter too. But I'll stick to a maple bar.
Commander Steinbronn: So I do like maple bars when I eat them. I'm trying to avoid them cause you know you got to stay fit and trim.
Commander Krantz: It's kind of a tough question. There's a lot of very good doughnut shops here in Portland and a lot of really, really specialties. But I like to go plain and just stay with a maple bar.
Host: Maple bars all around. Thanks, Commanders.
Commander Krantz: Thank you.
Commander Hager: Thank you.
Announcer: We'll be right back.
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Announcer: Now it's time for Tough Questions. Our segment where we answer your toughest questions regarding policing or public safety.
Sgt Simpson: Today's question is, "Why does it take so long for police to show up on some calls?"
Sgt Simpson: This is a complaint we see quite often, is people are frustrated with how long they have to wait for a police officer to come take a report when they've called 911.
Sgt Simpson: When a person calls 911, the Bureau of Emergency Communications, or BOEC, takes the call information and prioritizes them based on the type of information given to the call taker. Emergencies take the highest priority where other calls such as a car prowl with no suspect information would fall much further down the priority list.
Sgt Simpson: Sometimes because of a number of different calls coming in, call times will get longer for people waiting because officers are tied up doing other police work. In some circumstances, calls require more than one officer to respond and there may not be more than one officer available. So we have to balance the variety of calls that come in with the number of officers we have working at any given time. A lot of that leads to frustration and we understand people can get upset when they're waiting for an officer to come take a report from them.
Sgt Simpson: One thing we do encourage people to do is to become familiar with our online reporting to see if the type of call they're reporting would be able to be filed online. You can report a crime online by visiting our website, PortlandPolice.com
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