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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 14, 2010 11:54 AM. The previous post in this blog was Nothing says fun like a young cop and a Taser. The next post in this blog is Portland sewer chief calls Mayor Creepy out on bike budget baloney. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Portland cop blows a .19 in traffic stop on I-5

Just another reason why all Portland police officers need regular drug testing -- and apparently a Breathalyzer once in a while, too. Were the cops who killed James Chasse drunk, hung over, hopped up, or juiced up when they did it?

Comments (19)

I'm not trying to defend them, but I think the high stress of the job could lead to drinking and drug problems. Not an excuse, but possibly something needing addressing. I have a family member that was a police officer. They said it's a thankless job, where you're dealing 8 hours or more a day with life's lowest scum. It's extremely stressful and a tough job, and sometimes civilians may not realize what they go through. This isn't an excuse, and I surely don't endorse the behavior. I am just suggesting a possible cause.

Once again, I'll pose the question: Several years ago, the City reduced the educational requirement for COP officers from a four-year degree to a two-year degree. While this has helped fulfill the recruitment efforts, has the result been a less mature force, prone to the type of behaviors we've seen recently?

I remember when the director of OLCC got busted for DUI.

This isn't an excuse, and I surely don't endorse the behavior. I am just suggesting a possible cause.

Dear kindly Sergeant Krupke,
You gotta understand,
It's just our stressful jobs
That gets us out of hand.
Our hours they is thankless,
We deal all day with drunks.
Golly Moses, natcherly we're police officers!

Gee, Officer Krupke, we're very upset;
We never had the overtime that we oughta get.
We ain't no delinquents,
We're misunderstood.
Deep down inside us there is good!

Lots of people have stressful jobs and that is no excuse. Doctors, nurses, EMTs, garbage collectors and people who get paid poor wages. Stress is no excuse period.

The good old boy, us against them attitude contribute to it just as much as anything else.

0.19 is nothing! Try Officer Brian Hubbard's 0.25 in WashCo - with a near-empty bottle of Smirnoff in the car with him, plus a few less-than-true answers given to deputies who were questioning him.

This culture isn't limited to the PPB. The Sandy cop that shot Fouad Kaady, Bill Bergin, was later caught trying to break into his ex-girlfriend's home, drunk, after driving there from a bar. He tried to pull the "I'm one of you" cards, going so far as to say that when this happens in Clackamas County, the good ol' boys in blue help each other out.

The police chief then claimed it was the stress of shooting an unarmed, severely injured, accident victim that sent Bergin over the edge. A few months later, Bergin was busted for giving IDs he had confiscated on the job to underage minor girls.

The bad apples generally give us plenty of warning.

Sign up now for the next Portland-area police happy hour! This month you'll enjoy a drinking contest, underage strippers, a pinata shaped like a mentally ill man's ribcage, a road rage yell-off and much, much more!

Please mark your T-shirt size on your registration to ensure you get your free "I AM DRUNK HUMPHREYS" T-shirt at the event! Tickets are going fast! Network with other boys in blue, so you can know how to sell it the next time you're out driving drunk!

Maybe the Portland Police can do an exchange/sister city program with Baltimore, MD. They beat up people on the street there for no reason too!
go by street car!

The officer could have avoided all of this if he had confined his drunk driving within city limits.

Jack, I think jimbo just gave you reason to start a Comment of the Week feature.

Taking the actions of a few and using them to paint the whole organization is the lowest form of editorializing. It's both lazy and academically dishonest.

Clearly, officers who engage in this conduct should be held accountable. And to the extent that there are underlying systemic issues in the bureau that contribute to the ongoing and embarassing issues, those should be addressed.

But it depresses me when a blog I often respect has taken to predictable knee-jerking every time a sniff comes up about a cop making a bad life choice. Why does one cop's DUII evoke another cop's road rage, and for God's sake, why do all of these always bring a new Chasse reference?

Please, Jack, you can do better.

Personally, Jack, I'm wondering if you're just reveling in having someone around easier to villianize than a lawyer.

Humphreys, Nice, Frashour, Westerman, this drunken loser.... sorry, but after a while, there's a pattern. There are too many Portland cops with mental health issues, and they're hurting and killing people. No to mention simply trigger-happy guys like Kaer. When something's done, people will stop complaining.

And thanks for the update, but I really don't care about your respect.

Per the last annual report by the bureau (on the Portland Police website), there are over 1000 sworn officers. Show me any organization that size that doesn't have problem employees that should be cast off.

Certainly there is validity to the argument that these aren't normal employees and we need to better screen policemen than we would the typical office employee. That's entirely fair and unassailable. To the extent that isn't done, that is an organizational issue that needs to be fixed. To the extent those officers subject themselves to our scrutiny by way of their behaviors, they deserve what they get.

But using the misdeeds of 1-2% of the force to impugn the whole group, which is what seems to happen way too much in this place and others, isn't right. I'm willing to believe that the vast majority of the police force are decent, upright, hard workers who aren't the sort of people that we are concerned about. I'd simply ask that you consider that possibility (even if you don't share the belief) before you paint with the broad brush that you do.

That's a nice speech. But they all rally behind the bad apples and tell us "I am Christopher Humphreys." Then they all, like Humphreys, need to find new jobs.

When the cops stop fighting individual accountability, maybe we'll stop treating them all alike.

Here we have agreement. Individual accountability should always be in play and shouldn't be fought. Getting behind a bad officer who made a bad decision is a bad play. Sure, I suppose the thinking is "I'm gonna back this guy because I'd want him to back me," but the truth is that sometimes you need to cut bait. If you fight both good fights and bad fights, you lose credibility, and that is your fault, not ours.

Anecdote: a friend of mine is married to a cop. When that cop bean-bagged the girl on the Max earlier this year, she and I got into a gigantic argument. Her point (taken from talking to her husband, who was supporting the guy) is that the guy made a solid decision per training and her husband would have done the same.

My point was that, no, her husband wouldn't. Her husband's smarter than that. Where you have two cops and an unarmed teenager, and at least one of the cops has a taser, and both cops have hands-on, there's no reason for a bean-bag from 2 feet. That's a bad decision, it's bad police work, and supporting it was throwing credibility away.

What I told her is what I think we're agreeing on now: that is not a fight that her husband, or any cop, should be in, and that is not behavior that should be supported. Punishment was appropriate. I was disappointed at how that was handled.

"We are ALL Scott Westerman"!!!!


Until the members of that union are repulsed enough to get rid of that embarrassing President who THEY elected, I will judge them all by the actions that they made. (same goes for the mayoral voters of Portland, btw)

I'd put Westerman and Adams in the same boat...


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