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Portland, known for riots and attacks on officers, begins national search for new police chief


The city on Monday opened recruitment for police chief candidates, seeking a “highly qualified and transformative” leader who has served as a chief or assistant chief in a large metropolitan law enforcement agency.

The successful person, according to the job description, must have the “capacity and commitment” to improve relationships with members of minority communities, “ensuring that equity is a bedrock of policing.”

The job description prominently points out that Portland has a history of “legally sanctioned systemic racism with legally enforced exclusionary practices.”

The city is looking for a chief who has a track record in boosting community policing and organizational change, is a college graduate and has at least 10 years of law enforcement experience, with at least five years in a management role.

An added benefit, the description says, would be prior experience helping police and mental health professionals collaborate.

The salary range cited is $143,312 to $205,379 a year.

The description cites the bureau’s goals for the next fiscal year as building community trust, improving the working environment within the bureau and enhancing police accountability. Those goals are similar to ones cited by Chief Mike Marshman when he was named to the job in late June by former Mayor Charlie Hales.

“The nature of police work in America is changing, and Portland deserves the chance to evaluate national talent in our efforts to create a 21st Century police force focused on building community trust, embracing diversity, and living up to the highest standards of transparency and accountability,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler, who serves as Potland’s police commissioner.

“This national search gives our community the chance to address fundamental questions about the direction of policing in Portland,” he said in a statement. “I am dedicated to receiving and acting upon input provided by the community throughout this process.”

The deadline for submitting an application is June 12.

A first round of interviews by phone is slated for week of June 24, with finalists identified the week of July 3.

“Based on an evaluation of the application materials, those applicants whose materials best reflect the experience, knowledge, and skill set for the position, will be invited to participate in telephone interviews,” according to the Mayor’s Office.

Final interviews before a panel of officers and community representatives will be held the week of July 17. The mayor will make the final selection.

Wheeler doesn’t plan to have finalists meet the public in a town hall-type gathering, he said. Instead, the city wants people to offer their opinions and feedback via an online survey available here.

The city search is estimated to cost $19,900.

The search comes as the bureau is struggling with a staffing shortage, its controversial handling of large-scale protests, a recent officer-involved fatal shooting of a black teenager and the adoption of policy, training and accountability reforms required under a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Portland Police Association, representing rank-and-file officers, sergeants and detectives, recently announced that it supports Marshman as chief and opposes the national search for an outside candidate.

In April, the mayor scrapped plans to hire an outside agency to run Portland’s national search for a police chief after only one agency — the International Association of Chiefs of Police — submitted a bid for a contract.

Instead, the city’s human resources bureau is conducting the search. Three selected community panels were identified by the mayor’s office to seek local input on crafting the job description.

Last month, Marshman said he planned to apply to keep his job.

“I don’t want to abandon ship when things are starting to move forward. I feel obligated to do so,” Marshman told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “I think morale is on the uptick. We’re looking to hire another 15 to 18 officers next month. I feel obligated to continue to work to connect with people who work here and with the community. Those two things are what keeps me going on.”

When Marshman was appointed chief at the end of June, his annual salary was $172,619. He signed a three-year contract as chief that could be terminated without cause. If the contract is terminated without cause, he’ll receive severance pay equal to six months of his salary, according to his contract.

— Maxine Bernstein


(c)2017 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

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