Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 10th, 2007 at 11:57 am
Robert Quick, Police Chief Sizer.
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)
At a ceremony this morning in downtown Portland, four members of the Southeast Precinct Bike Patrol Unit were among those recognized at the Chief’s Forum Awards — which intend to “reflect on the value of community policing partnerships”.
Officers Phil Blanchard, Robert Quick, and Robert Pickett* were awarded the Community Policing Problem Solving Award by the Chief’s Forum (an advisory council to Police Chief Sizer) for their outstanding work that has made a “big difference in the Southeast Portland community.”
Speaking to a packed crowd in the City of Portland building, a representative from the Chief’s Forum said,
“The bicycle patrol has left an immeasurable impact upon the residents and business owners of Southeast Portland and has greatly assisted in developing a lasting relationship between the community and the Portland Police Bureau.”
However, despite the accolades, bike-mounted police officers are still a rarity in the Portland Police Bureau. Outside of downtown, only two bike patrol officers remain.
After the ceremony, Officer Robert Quick told me that hiring challenges are mostly to blame. I asked him about getting more bike patrol officers and he said, “We’re just hoping to hold onto the two we’ve got right now.”
I also spoke with Police Chief Sizer. We agreed that unfortunately the great stories of community policing honored at this event would likely never get coverage on the local news.
What the Bureau needs to solve their personnel crisis is not just more money and beefed up recruitment efforts: What they need is more good news. Scandals and inappropriate conduct have tarnished their image and it will take time, and more positive news stories to clean it up.
More bike patrol units could go a long way in creating those stories. Officers Quick, Pickett, Blanchard, and Zanetti have a laid an exemplary foundation, all that’s missing are more officers and more resources from the Bureau to build up the program.
[*Bike Patrol officer Anthony Zanetti was also recognized but was not present at the ceremony.]