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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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Audio: Chief Resch Remarks to Community

Transcript:

Good morning. 

First, I want to thank our community. A couple of weeks ago, I asked for you to report online, talk to an officer by phone, or in an open air environment and you have stepped up.

Your flexibility and understanding have allowed us to limit our exposures while still providing the best police service.

I also want to say thank you to every member of the Portland Police Bureau.

You are navigating this very fluid situation, and at the same time, continue to come to work each day committed to protecting and serving our community.

I want to assure you that we will continue our partnership with the City’s public safety bureaus and the emergency operations center to manage our resources and the Bureau and community’s needs,

As first responders, we have prepared ourselves to mobilize in uncertain times.

As mentioned, we are currently taking all calls for service and are encouraging the public to report crimes online or speak to us by phone.

We are being very proactive in our approach. We continue with operational plans on how to best manage our resources during this quickly evolving time.

We are asking our community to comply with the Governor’s orders to Stay home, stay healthy. It is meant to save lives and we can’t stress how important that is.

First, we will attempt to educate violators in accordance with social distance guidelines.

We will issue warnings if the community members comply, but if necessary, will issue a criminal citation for non-compliance,

We also understand that many in our homeless community may not be aware of the health crisis or the orders, which is why it is so important for us to take an educate-first approach.

There are things that the community can do to help. First, be aware of what the order allows or prohibits,

It is imperative that people refrain from calling 9-1-1 and overloading the emergency system with non-emergency calls for service.

The non-emergency dispatch line can be utilized to report those who are not complying with the Governor’s order. These calls are triaged to determine if police response is appropriate based upon resources available and call load.

I want to clarify some information about crime at this time. We are monitoring our calls for service closely to help us understand where our resources are needed,

In a comparison from March 12 to March 22, we learned dispatched calls are 10% lower compared to the ten days before the State of emergency declaration,

Calls involving suicide attempts or suicide threats with or without a weapon are up 41% from 2019 and up 23% from ten days prior to the State of emergency. This statistic is very concerning and there are resources available for those who are struggling.

I ask everyone to reach out by phone, text, or video chat to connect with friends, family and neighbors. If they are struggling, make sure they know how to access help, which is available through the Mental Health Crisis intervention line or Lines for Life.

We partner with the Sunshine Division to provide food boxes to those who are unable to pick them up themselves.

Requests for emergency food boxes have increased more than six-times for the same time period in 2019 and are up eight times from the 10 days prior to the emergency declaration.

We have had a number of inquiries about whether domestic violence calls have increased and that data is not available at this time because there are a variety of ways the calls are coded.

We are concerned about the safety of those who may be experiencing abuse and continue to provide information about available resources, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline or Call to Safety.

I want to highlight that our officers are out proactively checking businesses and watching to interdict crime. The vast majority of our community members are working in cooperation to help mitigate the spread of the virus and obey laws and orders.

There are some select individuals who will attempt to take this opportunity to capitalize on the vulnerable and we are working hard to educate the public and interdict their criminal enterprises.

For example, over the weekend, Officers with the Beaverton Police Department collaborated with our officers to recover stolen masks that are needed by medical staff and first responders.

We are concerned about possible scams and ask the public to be mindful that there are some people out there who may be trying to make a dollar by selling equipment or items that are not what they are purported to be,

Finally, I am aware of some businesses in the Pearl District that were vandalized over this weekend. This appears to be a singular instance and not wide-spread.

Our businesses and those employed by the businesses are hurting right now. Please help us by reporting any suspicious activity and we will continue to proactively patrol these areas. We ask those business owners to report any crimes to us through online or non-emergency reporting if it is after the fact.   We continue to work with all of our city, county and state partners to ensure we are all well-coordinated and functioning as a team.

I have a strong belief in our community.  We are known for our care and compassion in this city and I am confident that if we work together, we can ensure our first responders are safe, healthy and available for the urgent calls for service.

This time of uncertainty is difficult. We can, however tell you that as first responders, we plan and we train for times like this.

We remain committed to you, to our city, and to protecting and serving.

Thank you.