Police | Bent | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Interview: Bend Police Chief Jim Porter on the expansion of the civil exclusion zone

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 11:43 AM

The Bend City Council recently approved an ordinance expanding the civil exclusion zone to cover downtown. We talked to Bend Police Chief Jim Porter to get the inside scoop on how the ordinance came about and how police plan to execute it.

Source Weekly: Where and how did the conversation about expanding the civil exclusion zone begin? Was it initiated by downtown business owners, City Council, or police concerns?

Jim Porter: The Civil Exclusion idea came out of one of the very first meetings we had with the downtown stakeholders group. The example of the exclusion area in the parks was mentioned and the police department moved forward with the concept.

SW: Why is the existing criminal justice process insufficient to address concerns about crime downtown?

JP: We are faced with two challenges with our current justice system: First, the time it takes to adjudicate a crime. For those who commit crimes it often takes up to a year or more before they are held accountable/sentenced. This is no one’s specific fault, the Deschutes County Circuit Court has been asking the state to provide Deschutes County with an additional magistrate for years. Without accountability there is seldom a change in an individual’s misconduct. The ordinance is written in such a manner as to bring accountability in a more reasonable time frame, after clear due process and protection of the individual’s rights.

Secondly, our municipal court is not a court of record, so it does not issue arrest warrants for those who do not appear in court once they’ve been cited. What this means is when we issue a citation, for example: drinking in public or a dog nuisance violation, the person being cited can just ignore the citation. The courts only option at that point is to turn them over to a collection agency.

SW: Who determined which crimes and civil violations should be included in the list of infractions that can result in exclusion?

JP: We used the crimes in the existing exclusion ordinance and added the ordinance addressing drinking on an unlicensed premises and dog nuisances. We have a large volume of complaints in reference to people’s dogs attacking other dogs and people.

SW: How do police determine whether or not to issue an exclusion? Is it automatic for certain violations, or do police have their own bar for when it is warranted?

JP: Like everything we do as the police, we take enforcement action based upon the totality of the circumstances at each incident. We leave the officer with the ability to exercise discretion and good judgement. While this may sound like it gives the officer the authority to play favorites, what it does is avoids the “zero tolerance” mind-set.

SW: How long has the smaller exclusion zone existed? How many people have been excluded in that time? How many

JP: Since 2012. I will attach our stats on the exclusions, crime, and re-offending numbers.

SW: Can you provide a chart of the number of exclusions by type of offense? Do you have a sense of how often a certain violation resulted in an exclusion?

JP: I will include the stats.

SW: How many of those previously excluded have appealed? Have any appeals been successful?

JP: We have had not appeals, and the stats show the number of re-offenders.

SW: Do you have data showing a correlation between the institution of the previous exclusion zone and a decrease in crime?

JP: No, our goal is to remove criminal offenders, those drinking on the streets, and unruly dogs. We want to make the downtown area a safe place at all hours.

SW: What steps have you taken to avoid the kind of legal challenges other cities have faced?

JP: We specifically built in pre-exclusion constitutional protections. Giving those cited due process before they are excluded, by not implementing any exclusion if they chose to appeal. And again, exclusions are only for 90 days. We codified the protection of those who need to be in the downtown area for legitimate reasons: to visit family, business meetings, meet with a lawyer, visit their church, etc.

SW: What kind of data do you plan to collect regarding the exclusion zone moving forward?

JP: Data on all arrests where the exclusion ordinance was used, arrests where it could have been used, and race and sex of those cited.

SW: Can you think of cities where civil exclusion zones have been heralded as a success? What other cities in Oregon (or other places similar to Bend) have them?

JP: What we looked at was the success of the present exclusion area in protecting those visiting our parks. The point I have most heard on this issue is “Bend is Bend.” We have a unique lifestyle and we don’t want to model our downtown after the downtown of Eugene or Portland.

SW: What other approaches has the police department considered or tried?

JP: We intensified patrols in the downtown area and pushed down person crimes and calls for service significantly in 2014, but at a cost of $62,000. We are a department which is operating with minimal staff, with competing important areas of call for service that require officers to respond, and cannot sustain the shift of personnel.

I have been approached by citizens who are convinced this expansion of the exclusion area is directed at those who are forced to panhandle for a living, or hang out, or just sit around; that is not factual. We need to reduce criminal conduct in our downtown. The men and women of the Bend Police Department have an exceptional record of how they treat those most at risk in our community.

Before next summer I will return to the City Council with the results of expansion of the exclusion area and a decision will be made at that time to assess its effectiveness.

  • Pin It
  • Email
  • Favorite

Tags: , , , ,

Friday, June 20, 2014

City Appoints Bend Police Chief Jim Porter to Permanent Position

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 11:22 AM

City Manager Eric King announced today that he appointed interim Police Chief Jim Porter to a permanent position as head of the Bend Police Department. Porter stepped into the interim role after the firing of former Chief Jeff Sale, who was removed from his position following the sex scandal involving then Public Information Officer Lt. Chris Carney

“Upon meeting with community partners and members of the police department it became clear that Jim was the right person for the job,” King said in a release. “It’s important to me and the community that the positive momentum that Jim has built in the department over the past six months continue.”

Porter added that, after 23 years in the department, he looks forward to leading 112 sworn police officers, community service officers and civilian personnel and expanding service to the community.

"We, as a department, are dedicated to setting an even more successful path which will encompass a higher level of community policing and expanded service to the citizens of Bend," Porter said in the release. "Our goal is to improve the high quality of livability currently enjoyed by our community.”

According to King, the decision to formalize Porter's position as chief will bring stability to the force.

“This decision removes any uncertainty about the direction of the police department,” King said. “I plan on staying actively engaged with the department and look forward to working with Chief Porter on what the future of Bend Police will look like."
  • Pin It
  • Email
  • Favorite

Tags: , ,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Safety Study Highlights Bend's Traffic Crash Problem

Posted By on Thu, Sep 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM

According to a recent Traffic Safety Study, Bend had more fatal car crashes from 2006 to 2010 than other comparable cities.
  • According to a recent Traffic Safety Study, Bend had more fatal car crashes from 2006 to 2010 than other comparable cities.

"We have a traffic crash problem in the City of Bend, to put it bluntly," Police Chief Jeff Sale said at the Sept. 18 City Council meeting, in a brief overview of the results of a traffic safety study spanning 2006-2010.

In that four year period, Bend had 22 fatal car crashes (which killed 24 people all told) — significantly more than comparable Oregon cities such as Springfield (16), Medford (12), and Corvallis (2). Most of the crashes were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speed, or inattention, Sale said.

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Email
  • Favorite

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Update on Police Service Reductions

Our blog last week could have told you more.

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2012 at 4:14 PM

So, last week we threw up that blog about police potentially cutting back critical services if the department didn’t get more money. Read it here.

You all jumped on the “that’s total bs” bandwagon and dished left and right about your frustration with government, etc.

I had a talk with Bend Police Chief Jeff Sale after all that and we agreed that the information we posted was incomplete.

I didn’t do a good enough job of telling you all why they needed more money.

Here’s the deal: Bend Police Department staff believe requests for help will increase at a rate of around seven to nine percent each year in the coming years. But the city is budgeting only a two percent increase in money for BPD each year over that time frame, hence the need for more money or a reduction in services, said Sale. 

We have some questions about that. Mostly we’re wondering about how resources are being used now; how the department determined that an additional $200,000 to $300,000 per year would solve the problems; and whether some of the chief’s new efforts around data collection and smarter policing will help suck up some of the need for more resources.

So, Chief Sale and I are going to sit down tomorrow and get into some of all that. You won’t hear from us right away, but we promise to keep you posted.

  • Pin It
  • Email
  • Favorite

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Police May Gut Services

Finances at the city of Bend are getting tight and, to be real frank, the sh*t is starting to hit the fan, particularly for the Bend Police Department.

Posted By on Thu, May 3, 2012 at 7:05 PM

NOTE: This blog looks long. Read it anyway—or skip to bullet points for the hair raising information.

Finances at the city of Bend are getting tight and, to be real frank, the sh*t is starting to hit the fan, particularly for the Bend Police Department.

Police Chief Jeff Sale gave a super bleak presentation to the Bend City Council last night about what will happen if the department does not get more cash.

Basically, the department will have to gut programs, lay off staff and pull back services A LOT, said the chief.

Here’s the plan he laid out last night. Keep in mind it’s just a proposal. The city could allocate more resources to the department and make this plan go away, he said. But if city councilors do that, they probably have to take cash from something else. In other words, see the first paragraph of this little blog.

2012 Proposed Service Reductions

  • Elimination of Youth Enhancement Services program, which is like diversion for kids who commit low level crimes like shop lifting, smoking, etc.
  • Stop investigating credit card fraud if the victim gets reimbursed
  • No more property crime and theft investigations under $100,000, unless the person is over 65

2013 Proposed Service Reductions

  • Reduction in responses to calls for barking dogs, noisy parties, etc.
  • No more investigation into prostitution unless it involves a minor
  • No more burglary investigation unless it appears to be a serial crime
  • Stop looking into computer related crime

2014 Proposed Service Reductions

  • No more property crime and theft investigation under $250,000, unless person is over 65 or has a disability
  • Stop proactive searches for people in possession of child porn
  • Stop looking into most runaway cases

2015 Proposed Service Reductions

  • Eliminate the School Resource Officer Program
  • No more suspicious death investigations
  • No more investigation into any property crime and theft
  • Stop looking into missing people cases unless foul play is suspected

2016 Proposed Service Reductions

  • Eliminate traffic division
  • Stop investigating arson
  • Stop investigating robbery
  • Stop investigating sex abuse/rape unless the person is under 14, over 65, or has a disability

The result of all this is layoffs every single year, said the chief.

The effect of the presentation was generally to scare the hell out of the city councilors. One council said it’s like a public service announcement for criminals. Come to Bend, criminals, we don’t have the resources to catch you...

Sale said to the department needs two or three new full-time staff positions a year, which translates to about $200,000-$300,000 per year.

You can weigh in by contacting city councilors. Find their info by going to this webpage and clicking on the "City Council Roster" link. Next council meeting will be held May 16 at City Hall, 710 NW Wall St.



  • Pin It
  • Email
  • Favorite

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

© 2021 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation