The Portland Police Bureau is expanding our online reporting system; Name changes to some PPB units and divisions; The Gun Violence Reduction Team will be using door hangers; and a new K9 in our Narcotics unit.
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Welcome to the Portland Police Bureau’s News Beat for March 2020. While we can’t highlight all the public safety issues and crime addressed by Portland Police Officers, here is a snapshot of what we’ve been talking about over the last month:
The Portland Police Bureau is expanding our online reporting system to allow members of the community a more convenient way to report crimes and free up officers to respond to emergency calls.
Previously, community members could report only a select number of crimes online, including thefts, hit and runs, and vandalism, where there was no suspect information. Now we are expanding that to additional call types:
Fraud and Identity Theft (where there is no suspect), including ID Theft under $5,000, Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card, Forgery including forged checks, and Telephone scams.
Burglary to unoccupied detached garages, sheds, storage units, and Illegal dumping can be reported online.
Also certain types of Theft cases, including Shoplifts where no suspect is in custody, residential Mail Theft, Theft of Bicycle under $10,000 in value, and Non-felony level thefts where there is no suspect info. Theft of medication calls cannot be reported online.
The ability to report more crimes online has numerous benefits to our community:
-Victims can choose a convenient time for them to report the crime, rather than wait for an officer to respond.
-Victims can get a copy of their police report directly to their e-mail much quicker, usually within 2 business days. Officer generated police reports can take up to 20 business days.
-This will allow officers to focus on higher priority calls and community policing by reducing the time spent taking theft calls.
-It uses technology to help PPB work more efficiently in the midst of a significant staffing challenge.
-The increased convenience is expected to result in more low-level crimes being reported, which will help investigators connect more criminal cases, and keep more accurate crime statistics.
Chief Jami Resch issued a statement on this, saying that, "It is important for victims to know these crime reports are important to us, whether they are made in person or online. Every online report will be reviewed by a sworn officer. At times, officers and detectives discover crime trends while reviewing reports and can connect cases together that can lead to arrests, convictions, and the return of stolen property to victims. But they can only do that if victims take the time to report."
Additionally, PPB uses crime data from these reports to direct resources and improve crime reduction strategies.
Online reporting is an additional service to the public and is not mandatory. We recognize that not everyone has access to a computer, smartphone, or Internet-connected device, and online reporting is not available in all languages. Victims can still call the police non-emergency line and an officer will respond in person when available.
To initiate an online report, or see if a situation meets the criteria for online reporting, visit www.portlandpolice.com and select "Police Report: Submit Online." In some cases, though some crimes may be included in the online reporting, there are incidents that may have factors that require the victim to talk to a police officer either in person or on the phone.
If it is an emergency, you should call 9-1-1. The non-emergency line is (503) 823-3333.
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The Portland Police Bureau has renamed units and divisions within our organizational structure and wants to make the public aware of these changes to avoid any confusion.
The Drugs and Vice Division is now called the Narcotics and Organized Crime Division, or NOC. In 2019, the Drugs and Vice Division (DVD) was placed under the command of the Tactical Operations Division. DVD’s mission will stay the same: to conduct high level criminal investigations designed to dismantle and disrupt illegal drug trafficking organizations operating within and around the City of Portland. The goal is to reduce the public harm caused through the sales and use of illegal narcotics.
In addition, the Domestic Violence Reduction Unit, Domestic Violence Enhanced Response Team, Violation Restraining Order and Gun Dispossession Detail and the Elder Crimes and Vulnerable Adults Unit will collectively be renamed the Special Victims Unit. In the past six years, the responsibilities of these units have been expanded to serve the needs of these communities. The name change was made to better reflect the duties of this division and be in alignment with similarly composed police investigative units nationally.
To see a copy of the Bureau's organizational chart, visit Portlandpolice.com and select “Contact us” and then “about us.”
Gun violence remains a significant problem in Portland neighborhoods, touching virtually every corner of the city. Now, the Portland Police Bureau is planning a new door hanger initiative designed to help members of the Bureau engage the community to be part of the solution.
Members of the Gun Violence Reduction Team (GVRT) will soon be distributing the door hangers in neighborhoods where gun violence has happened. While it's common for officers to canvas the neighborhoods after a shooting, they often are not able to make contact with every resident, business, or community member in the area. Soon, officers will leave door hangers with contact information and a request that the community member reach out if they saw or heard anything or have pictures or video of the incident that they could share.
Assistant Chief of Investigations Andrew Shearer says Many times it's a small piece of information shared with investigators that can lead to:
the identification of a suspect, an arrest, a seizure of an illegally possessed firearm, and a criminal conviction. This is also another element of our community policing effort, informing the community of an incident and further engaging them to join us in working toward a solution."
The door hangers also remind people that they can provide information about crimes anonymously through Crime Stoppers. Cash rewards of up to $2,500 are offered for information, reported to Crime Stoppers, that leads to an arrest in unsolved felony crimes.
Tips about gun crimes should go to Portland Police Bureau's Tactical Operations Division. Information learned from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or YouTube should be shared with investigators as these tips may lead to the identification of a suspect or suspects.
You can call this number: 503-823-4106 or email to G-V-R-T AT portlandoregon.gov . If you see a gun crime in progress, call 9-1-1.
### PPB ###
The Portland Police Bureau's Human Trafficking Unit participated in the 19th National John Suppression Initiative (NJSI) organized by Cook County Sheriff's Office in Illinois. The operation had a total of 22 law enforcement agencies nationwide that targeted potential buyers to provide deterrence and disrupt the online activity for commercial sexual solicitation.
From the beginning of the year through February 2, the Portland Police Bureau made 252 contacts with potential buyers via text messages and phone calls. That ranked 3rd nationwide behind New York City and Tarrant County, Texas. The online decoy ads were monitored by Officers. Those who responded got a message back stating that PPB posts decoy ads and that offering to pay someone for sexual contact is a crime punishable by up to 7 years in prison. Portland Police Bureau members also made 6 arrests during this initiative and all were charged with Commercial Sexual Solicitation.
If you know someone that you believe is being trafficked, please contact the Portland Police Bureau at (503) 823-3333 (non-emergency) or 911 (emergency). You can also send information directly to the Portland Police Bureau's Human Trafficking Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a tip via the National Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
The Portland Police Bureau has finished its review of our Directive on Stolen Vehicles, and will be retaining changes that have been made. During the review, community feedback focused largely on onerous towing expenses imposed upon vehicle owners. Although the PPB does not have the authority to regulate towing fees, the Bureau sought to develop a procedure that empowered owners to direct the management of their recovered vehicles.
As a result, PPB established new procedures that allowed the vehicle owner to indicate whether or not they prefer to have their recovered vehicle towed. The Bureau adopted the new policy on a provisional basis under a 6-month pilot program. After careful review of the program and supporting data, the PPB has determined to permanently implement the policy and procedures.
The entire policy is available on our website, portlandpolice.com and select the heading “directives.” The stolen vehicles directive is 630.61,
We’re introducing the newest member of the Narcotics and Organized Crime unit (NOC), Niko the K9. Niko joined the team about a year ago. Niko has been trained to find methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. Just last month, Niko was able to assist with the arrest of a suspect in Portland carrying approximately thirty-three pounds of methamphetamine…that’s about 300-thousand doses. The investigation determined the meth was intended for distribution in the Portland metropolitan area.
The NOC unit is dedicated to getting drugs off the streets of Portland. With the help of their three dogs NOC is able to find more drugs and money than an officer without the assistance of a K9.
In 2019 the K9's helped NOC seize an estimated total drug value of nearly 25 million dollars. That includes 294 pounds of Methamphetamine, 66 pounds of Heroin, 1,000 pounds of dried marijuana and 7 pounds of powder Cocaine/ Powder -- 7 pounds.
While we’re introducing Niko, we are saying farewell to another K9 member, Bora. Bora has been serving the city since 2016 and now is retiring.
Bora is a 9 year old purebred German Shepherd who was born in Canada but raised in Eugene. Bora had three litters of puppies before becoming a certified police K9 at the age of six. Her grandson, Khan, currently works for the bureau.
Bora and Officer Kristi Butcher were certified as a K9 team by the Oregon Police Canine Association in 2017 and worked together for three years. Together the duo racked up over seventy-five captures and assisted officers on hundreds of calls. Bora and Officer Butcher truly enjoyed meeting Portlanders and together they participated in almost eighty community engagement events.
For her last day, Bora was treated to a cheeseburger and a "Puppuccino" by some dog-loving community members. Bora will enjoy her retirement with now Sergeant Butcher at their home.
Thank you for listening to the News Beat. For more episodes, go to portlandoregon.gov/police/podcast or follow us on Twitter …… @Portland Police