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The Portland Police Bureau today announced it will assign every officer a three-digit number and require that the number be prominently displayed on officers' helmets during crowd management events. PPB has heard feedback from community members about the difficulties involved in being able to identify officers with the current system involving a lengthier personnel number in lieu of a name tag.
The Police Bureau also said it has assigned five officers alternative duties outside of crowd management response while investigations occur based upon concerns reported by members of the public. When the Bureau is aware of these concerns or is aware of an incident where policy may have been violated, cases are referred to the Independent Police Review (IPR) and Professional Standards Division (PSD).
"We support peaceful protest and understand that reforms to advance racial justice are necessary and overdue," said Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis. "We also want the public to be able to easily identify officers if they have concerns. That's why, beginning immediately, we are assigning every officer a three-digit number to be prominently displayed on the helmets required while performing crowd control duties," he said.
The bureau says it will move quickly to ensure numbers are stenciled on every helmet. The work will begin immediately and be completed by November 15th.
"Being a police officer is hard and hazardous work on a good day, and Portland's police officers have been responding to protests, demonstrations, and other incidents for over several months. I want to thank each and every member of the Portland Police Bureau for the effort they put into serving this community this year," said Mayor Ted Wheeler. "I also want to thank the Bureau for responding to community concerns about officer identification and use of force," he said.
"PPB values excellence in service and we hold ourselves to a high standard," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "The vast majority of police response meets or exceeds our standards, but there are times when we fall short. This is why we have a process to review, gather information and assess if the actions were within or outside of policy and from there identify what appropriate intervention is needed, such as counseling, remedial training or discipline. We have heard the concerns from many community members and are working on solutions to address them. We continue to assess our policies and practices as well as identify where we can improve and grow to meet our community's expectations and enhance our service."
Previously, officers were asked to wear a personal identification number in lieu of a name tag due to concerns and threats about doxxing. Doxxing involves publishing or making public personal information about an individual, such as addresses, phone numbers, and associates, for example. There have been concerns about the safety of officers and their families because of doxxing-related threats.
Despite the requirement that officers wear personal identification numbers, members of the public report it is difficult to see or recall the personal identification number of officers during often dark and dynamic crowd management situations.
In addition, the Bureau also will, over time, shift to a last name being embroidered on the uniform rather than the metal name tags that are small and challenging to read. PPB is already taking steps to implement the embroidered name directive.
Finally, the Bureau also will provide officers with a name badge for their uniform with their new 3-digit number to use in crowd management situations. The size and font will be standardized and big enough to be able easily seen. Both the embroidery and number name tag action items will be implemented as quickly as procurement can occur and budget permits.
If anyone has a complaint or commendation for a PPB member, contact the Independent Police Review at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/42860
For more information about the discipline process, visit: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/759437
Source: Portland Police Bureau