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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cops Making Bank at Last Thursday are Told to "Utilize Discretion"

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Portland police officers earning tens of thousands in overtime pay to patrol Portland's rowdy Last Thursday event in July would have had no shortage of misdeeds to wade through.

But officers had marching orders to use restraint in enforcing applicable law at the popular, if controversial, summer street fair, according to an "incident objectives" document [pdf] obtained by the Mercury. And police weren't told to focus on one of the more-frequent criticisms of Last Thursday: that it is often redolent of marijuana smoke.

From the document:


I'm still waiting for a response from the police bureau as to the report's authenticity, but it matches past incident objectives sheets the Mercury's looked over.

The document is hardly earth-shattering, but it's a rare and candid look at the Police Bureau's mindset around an event that's seen fresh scrutiny lately. And it shows what taxpayers can expect for the thousands of dollars— nearly $46,000 in 2012 alone—cops who work the event claim in overtime pay.

The objectives report, prepared by Sgt. Mark Friedman, places a premium on cops' mere presence to deter crime, and seems to focus more on being a positive, friendly presence than one that dispatches hard justice. It also includes a handy weather forecast ("Sunny with a high temperature if 86 degrees low of 56") for officers who might not have access to television, radio, newspapers, smart phones or the Internet.

While the bureau didn't have any specific threats on the radar for the July 25 event, it did detail a number of past problems for officers to be alert for, including "large crowds of youth (12-15 yrs old) committing 'flash robs' and engaging in disorderly conduct."


Recent tallies by the city's Office of Neighborhood Involvement have, for the first time, started to quantify the unruly behavior that's earned the summertime event ill will from some neighbors.

And Mayor Charlie Hales' office has sought stronger oversight of Last Thursday, setting forth a permit process for the event that prompted organizers to resign. Hales has since held meetings with stakeholders that have failed to turn up a new lead organization, meaning the city is paying out all Last Thursday's expenses—portable toilets, barricades, security, police overtime and myriad other costs—rather than just most of them.

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