PPB Releases Video Outlining Staffing (Photo)

September 08, 2020 15:07


The Portland Police Bureau remains committed to protecting and serving the City of Portland. Lately, there have been many questions about PPB's staffing and the number of officers available.

The Bureau has created a video explaining the number of sworn members, the number of officers and where those officers are assigned. Though this information is very fluid, due to many factors, such as retirements, resignations, injuries, leaves, etc., this information provides a framework for discussion on police resources. The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/hhx_8DVE3WI

The Bureau currently has 917 authorized (per its budget) sworn members (all ranks) and 295 professional staff members. Currently, PPB has 882 sworn members and 259 professional staff members. This accounts for the 84 sworn positions and 4 professional staff positions that were eliminated from the FY 2020/2021 adopted budget. It also includes the 49 retirements and 9 separations since July 1, 2020.

The 882 sworn positions include all ranks: officers, sergeants, criminalists, detectives, lieutenants, captains, commanders, assistant chiefs, deputy chief and chief. Of those positions, the Bureau currently has 616 officers of which more than 100 either have not been trained or are still on probation. Due to the pandemic, the Bureau had a number of newly hired officers that could not attend the state's basic academy, creating a bottleneck. It takes roughly 2 years for an officer to be hired and trained under regular circumstances.

The video highlights where trained officers are assigned, including investigative functions, training, forensics, administrative positions and traffic, leaving 349 patrol officers. Of those patrol officers, PPB assigned 47 of them temporarily to the Rapid Response Team to respond to protests. This leaves currently 302 officers assigned to answer 911 calls from the Bureau's three precincts. Whether working at the precincts or RRT, officers aren't all working at the same time and are given days off, sick time, vacation and other leaves.

The Bureau provides an example of a typical weekday in the video. Bureau analysts have extensively reviewed the City's call loads to determine when they are heavier and when are they lighter to conclude what the Bureau's minimum staffing should be in the precincts. During most shifts, often there are not enough officers to fulfill this number, which means officers need to be hired on overtime to backfill these positions.

Lately, as nightly violence continues, if the situation threatens life and safety, PPB must add more resources to address it besides the Rapid Response Team. The Critical Incident Commander makes the decision to take officers out of the precinct mid-shift to respond to the violence. That leaves fewer officers responding to calls for service, and often there can be 80-100 calls holding during mass gatherings.

PPB has done work to address these staffing challenges, including working with the Bureau of Emergency Communications who answers 911 calls to help triage calls and determine if sending an officer is the most appropriate course. The Bureau continues to be innovative and move personnel when appropriate.

PPB also enhanced its online reporting so community members do not have to wait hours for an officer to respond.

"We are proactively putting this information out so that the community can see what resources police have," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "Last year, PPB responded to roughly 366,000 calls for service, often involving the most vulnerable people in our community. Before we can talk about re-envisioning public safety, we must first all understand the current situation."



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