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Friday, November 18, 2011

That Rape Call Chief Reese Mentioned Last Night? It was on November 6

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Portland police have released new details about the delayed, three-hour police response to a recent rape case—a shocking revelation invoked by Police Chief Mike Reese last night on KGW as he calmly tried to make the case that Occupy Portland protests are sapping the police bureau of energy, cash, and flexibility.

The wide implication, because the chief left unsaid when the sexual assault occurred, was that the overwhelming response to yesterday's actions against a series of banks downtown were responsible for the delay. That's, um, not the case.

On Sunday, November 6, 2011, at 1:47 p.m., a 15-year-old girl called to report that she had been the victim of a sexual assault two days earlier, and that the suspect had been sexually assaulting her for months. The call was initially dispatched to police at 1:56 p.m., but a sergeant advised that the call would need to hold for awhile as there were only two free cars to respond to emergency calls in Central Precinct. An officer contacted the victim briefly and explained that all officers were tied up, but than an officer would be back to talk to her as soon as more officers were available. It is important to note the victim was in a safe location, away from the suspect. An officer responded to the victim's location at 5:16 p.m. and began an investigation, which later involved Sex Crimes Unit Detectives.

The chief began backtracking this morning on OPB, revealing that he was told of the disturbingly slow response on Wednesday, the day before the protests. Amanda Fritz's office, which oversees the city's 911 dispatchers, confirmed that Fritz herself didn't learn about the slow police response until Wednesday afternoon, and then promptly told Mayor Sam Adams' office.

Somehow, when Reese was in KGW's fishbowl studio at almost the same time officers were using pepper-spray on protesters, he didn't mention that detail.

Turns out there was way more than Occupy Portland going on—an Occupy still firmly ensconced in its downtown camps. And do we need to mention that the Occupy cops were WORKING OVERTIME? Meaning they're extra?

During the period that this victim had to wait, Central Precinct officers were responding to a shooting investigation at Northeast 66th and Sandy Boulevard where the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and Crisis Negotiators were involved; an incident in Forest Park where two Park Rangers were attacked; as well as being detailed to the ongoing Occupy Portland encampments in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. Also, at approximately 2:00 p.m., a rally and march for Occupy Portland tied up most remaining police resources until approximately 4:30 p.m.

Additionally, Central Precinct officers were also covering East Precinct calls because of the SERT call and a serious traffic crash that shut down the intersection of Northeast 82nd and Prescott Street. Central Precinct day shift was at their minimum staffing level, which is 16 officers and 2 sergeants, plus 3 officers strictly dedicated to the Occupy Portland encampments.

Update 3:15 PM: That Occupy event thatn Sunday? It was this tame affair at Pioneer Courthouse, only co-sponsored by Occupy.

Did Reese know all this when he made his comment? Let's hope not. If he said this, knowing the full story, it's horribly exploitative. And that was already kinda/sorta the case even if you believed he really was talking about something that happened Thursday.

Wonder if he thought about that while appearing at a candidates forum hours after the big police action downtown, in his police uniform.

Update 5:40 PM: Lieutenant Robert King, police spokesman, says Reese heard only the outline of what happened in the call early Thursday, bare information that was passed on by Adams, who heard it from Fritz. Reese didn't learn the details about when and where—including that the case was two days old, King says, until the bureau (no doubt responding to a SHITSTORM of criticism) sussed out the details today. That didn't stop him from sharing it. Asked if Reese regretted airing the case without knowing the full story, King said his boss didn't and that the point about resources was still valid.

King did acknowledge that it wasn't just because of Occupy—the bureau only started explicitly reducing service calls last Saturday. "It was maybe from a combination" of events that included the protest, King says. "There are times when calls for service are delayed."//

In the full statement below the cut, the police still try to blame Occupy Portland instead of a freakishly busy Sunday of crime.

On Thursday, November 17, 2011, during a television news interview about the N17 protest in Portland, Chief Mike Reese stated that a victim of a sexual assault had to wait three hours for Portland Police officers to respond due to police resources being tied up with Occupy Portland-related events. This statement has raised community concerns regarding police resources and it's important to put this information into context.

The Portland Police Bureau has faced significant staffing challenges during the Occupy Portland encampments and subsequent events. On Sunday, November 6, 2011, at 1:47 p.m., a 15-year-old girl called to report that she had been the victim of a sexual assault two days earlier, and that the suspect had been sexually assaulting her for months. The call was initially dispatched to police at 1:56 p.m., but a sergeant advised that the call would need to hold for awhile as there were only two free cars to respond to emergency calls in Central Precinct. An officer contacted the victim briefly and explained that all officers were tied up, but than an officer would be back to talk to her as soon as more officers were available. It is important to note the victim was in a safe location, away from the suspect. An officer responded to the victim's location at 5:16 p.m. and began an investigation, which later involved Sex Crimes Unit Detectives.

During the period that this victim had to wait, Central Precinct officers were responding to a shooting investigation at Northeast 66th and Sandy Boulevard where the Special Emergency Reaction Team (SERT) and Crisis Negotiators were involved; an incident in Forest Park where two Park Rangers were attacked; as well as being detailed to the ongoing Occupy Portland encampments in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. Also, at approximately 2:00 p.m., a rally and march for Occupy Portland tied up most remaining police resources until approximately 4:30 p.m.

Additionally, Central Precinct officers were also covering East Precinct calls because of the SERT call and a serious traffic crash that shut down the intersection of Northeast 82nd and Prescott Street. Central Precinct day shift was at their minimum staffing level, which is 16 officers and 2 sergeants, plus 3 officers strictly dedicated to the Occupy Portland encampments.

The Police Bureau is a very lean organization and when several events are happening at the same time, police resources are often tapped to cover the priority calls while lower priority calls that have no immediate danger must hold until officers are clear and able to respond.

This unfortunate incident serves as one example of times when police resources were tapped due to emergency calls and Occupy Portland events and street supervisors have to carefully manage police resources to ensure that officers are available to respond to active emergencies.

This case serves as an example of the challenges the Portland Police Bureau has faced during Occupy Portland events, and it will continue to work through staffing issues and how to best use resources to ensure public safety needs are met within Portland.

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