This is an attempt to clarify our previous release, which was misunderstood by some members of our community. Many of the calls that PPB officers respond to will still get a police response because, by their nature, they cannot be taken over the phone or online. Most disturbances, thefts in progress, burglaries, welfare checks, injury vehicle crashes, and many other calls will still be dispatched. Detectives will continue to investigate crimes.
The intent of Chief Resch's direction is for officers and supervisors to look for opportunities to contact members of the community by phone. If there is a question about whether a certain call should initiate an in-person police response, those questions will be directed to supervisors.
Additionally, we want the community to understand our new operating circumstances, and to recognize that online reporting is sometimes an option. All online reports are reviewed by a sworn officer, and we encourage victims to make them. If someone calls the police, they may get a phone call from an Officer or Public Safety Support Specialist in response. If circumstances develop that would require officers, then they will respond.
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In our ongoing efforts to perform our essential functions to protect and serve the public, the Portland Police Bureau is taking several proactive measures to keep its members and the community safe.
Our number one goal and priority is to respond as quickly as possible to life-threatening emergencies. We are currently taking all calls for service, yet we are encouraging other forms of reporting to follow social distancing guidelines. PPB members will continue to respond in-person to calls where there is a life safety issue or if it is a call that cannot be taken online or by phone due to the nature of the call. Criminal investigations will continue.
Given the current situation with the COVID-19 virus and the recommendations from the CDC, we are taking the following steps:
* PPB has recently expanded online reporting guidelines so more community members can file a police report online rather than in-person. This process is easy and crime victims get their reports quicker. It also frees officers up to focus on emergency calls for service. * When possible, and there is not a life-safety issue, PPB officers will be taking reports over the telephone. This will reduce the possible transmission of the virus to its members or to the public from Bureau members, as carriers may not even know they have the virus and are inadvertently transmitting it. * Temporarily suspending our presence at community engagement events. * Planning for various possibilities, such as if our staffing is significantly impacted by sick members. We are coordinating with our local partners in a collaborative manner to improve our abilities to protect and serve the public. * Increasing the cleaning schedule of our work spaces to protect our members and the public.
We are asking for the public's help by: * Encouraging all victims who can file a crime report online to do so. For more information about what can be reported online and how to do so, visit this link: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/cor/ * The public can also use the non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333. * Expect Officers or Public Safety Support Specialists (PS3s) to make contact by phone. * Stay informed by knowing where to find information. (See important links below).
"Portland Police Bureau members are working collaboratively with our partners to prepare for and mitigate the spread of COVID-19," said Chief Jami Resch. "We value our face-to-face interactions with the public, but recognize the need to do our part to protect the public and our members. We will continue to keep the public informed with relevant information and we appreciate the public's understanding of our need to limit face-to-face contacts for the benefit of all. We are committed to taking appropriate actions that protect the safety and the health of our members and the community."
211info is taking calls from the public with questions re: COVID-19. Individuals can call 211 for information. This is not a medical resource, but a good place to get information.
The Portland Police Bureau will continue to release information related to PPB's response as the situation needs change. To get the most updated information, sign up for our press releases at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/flashsignup.html and follow us on Twitter @PortlandPolice
Media Relations: PPBPIO@portlandoregon.gov Phone: 503-823-0830 1111 SW 2nd Ave Portland, OR 97204