Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 14th, 2010 at 8:23 am
Todd Wyatt is the new captain of the Portland Police Bureau's Traffic Division. Wyatt, 41, takes over the position from Eric Hendricks who held the position for just 13 months before being reassigned to a job in the Chief's office.
Wyatt comes to Traffic from his previous post as Captain of the PPB's Records Division. He held several administrative positions after serving as a beat cop in various precincts throughout the city for nearly two decades.
Wyatt lives with his family in Southwest Portland. He attended last night's City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee, a practice his predecessors have made a priority. During a brief chat at that meeting, I learned that he's no stranger to area bikeways. He said his family of four has six bikes and they take regular rides on the Waterfront and the Springwater Trail. Wyatt says he "dabbles" in biking ("When I ride with my friends who ride all the time I can barely keep up") and also does a lot of kayaking on the Willamette.
Officer Wyatt also has quite a past in the Bureau. Back in 2005 he was the subject of a cover story in the Willamette Week. As an up-and-coming cop, Wyatt seems to have had a reputation for being tough -- and sometimes a bit too tough -- when working the streets of Northeast Portland.
The Willamette Week story was titled, Good Cop, Bad Cop: The city wants to rein in officers like Lt. Todd Wyatt. Here's an excerpt:
"Wyatt is exactly the kind of guy "you want coming to your house if you're in trouble, because he will take care of business," says his former supervisor, ex-Capt. C.W. Jensen. Force, he adds, is "part of the game. Criminals use excessive force all the time."
While lauded by his peers, Wyatt's style got him a lot of attention of a different kind:
"Wyatt committed "misconduct both inside the courtroom and outside the courtroom," says Judge Wilson. "I have never seen a police officer behave with such arrogance and disrespect."
Wyatt himself is quick to volunteer that he has been called a liar, a brute and a racist. And according to city records obtained under Oregon Public Records Law, Wyatt has generated more threats of lawsuits against the Portland Police Bureau than any other cop."
After moving out of Northeast Precinct, Wyatt worked in the Southeast and Central precincts. At Central Precinct he worked crowd control at large parades and Critical Mass and handled things like traffic control for visiting dignitaries.
Lieutenant Bryan Parman, who has been very engaged on a variety of bike-related issues, joined Wyatt at the meeting last night. Parman says it's likely he'll also be leaving the Traffic Division in the coming months. He has been the Lieutenant since February 2008. Parman is expected to stay at Traffic for at least a month or so to help Captain Wyatt get a lay of the land.
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