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Hendricks latest through revolving door at PPB Traffic Division

Posted by on May 18th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Traffic Division Captain Eric Hendricks-1

Former Traffic Division Captain
Eric Hendricks has moved into
the Chief’s office.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Portland Police Bureau has announced another change atop the Traffic Division. Former Captain Eric Hendricks will now serve as the new Assistant Chief of Investigations in the Chief’s office. Hendricks was named Captain in April 2009, making him the sixth officer to lead the Traffic Division in the past five years.

Hendricks’ 13 month tenure is actually higher than the average for recent Traffic Division leaders. After Bill Sinnott retired in 2006, the the next four leaders — Marty Rowley, Mark Kruger, Vince Jarmer and Larry O’Dea — served nine, eight, six, and 11 month stints respectively.

The Traffic Division is the most important part of the Bureau for bike-related issues. They write 80% of traffic tickets, they conduct targeted enforcement actions, investigate bike crashes, escort bike (and other) parades, and generally have a lot of contact with the community.

In November 2008, when Hendrick’s predecessor Larry O’Dea left his post as Captain to work in the Chief’s office, I wrote:

“This rotating door brings with it differing leadership styles and enforcement philosophies which can make it difficult for the community, advocates, and traffic safety staff at PDOT to maintain momentum and build lasting relationships and programs.”

However, with such a calm and productive relationship between the community and the Traffic Division these days, these constant personnel changes will likely not raise as many concerns as they have in the past. It’s also worth noting that of all the Captains (formerly called Commanders) since 2005 (when I started covering this beat) Hendricks has been the most anonymous of them all.

Hendricks didn’t make much news here on BikePortland in part due to the relative calm I mention above but also because of a serious car crash that kept him out of work for several months.

Hendricks will move into an Assistant Chief position working alongside new Police Chief Mike Reese. According to PPB spokesperson Mary Wheat, a new Captain for the Traffic Division has not been named. We’ll keep you posted on who gets the job.

UPDATE, 4:25pm: I failed to mention two important parts of this story. First, Traffic Division Lieutenant Bryan Parman (2nd in command) has been a steadying and important influence since 2008. Regardless of who’s in charge at TD, Parman has been highly engaged with bike issues and attends the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting every month (among other things). Also, Former Captain Larry O’Dea who moved on to be an Assistant Chief has been recently re-assigned as Assistant Chief of Operations. According to PPB bike liaison officer Robert Pickett, that means O’Dea — who has remained interested in bike issues even after moving on from the TD — is well-positioned to influence and stay connected to bike issues in the future.

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6 Comments
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    Nha^'t May 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    My question is: will Captain Eric Hendricks “posse up” when the doo doo hits the fan? Will he go after stollen bikes, even flimsy, cheap collapsible ones? Time will tell, my friends, time will tell.

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    BURR May 18, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    The Police Bureau typically uses promotions to the top Traffic Division position as a scam to boost pending retiree’s pensions, hence the endless revolving door.

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    matt picio May 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Captain Hendricks has been at worst neutral to biking in Portland, and has been beneficial in many ways. Under his tenure and through the influence of officers like Robert Pickett, Hendricks worked with Shift and other Pedalpalooza organizers last year to help ensure a maximum of safety with a minimum of police involvement.

    If we’re lucky, Lieutenant Bryan Parman will become the new traffic captain. He’s worked extensively with officer Pickett in the past and has been very cooperative with the bike community towards forging better relations with the PPB.

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    matt picio May 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    When I say “at worst neutral” I mean to say he hasn’t done anything to discriminate against cyclists or to make cycling in Portland more difficult. Personally I think he’s done a good job and understands our difficulties, but I’ll acknowledge that there’s not a lot to point to specifically – so at worst, he’s done nothing negative.

    There, clear as mud. 🙂

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      Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      thanks for that Matt.

      I also wanted to point out an update I just did to this story:

      I failed to mention two important parts of this story. First, Traffic Division Lieutenant Bryan Parman (2nd in command) has been a steadying and important influence since 2008. Regardless of who in charge at TD, Parman has been highly engaged with bike issues and attends the Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting every month (among other things). Also, Former Captain Larry O’Dea who moved on to be an Assistant Chief has been recently re-assigned as Assistant Chief of Operations. According to PPB bike liaison officer Robert Pickett, that means O’Dea — who has remained interested in bike issues even after moving on from the TD — is well-positioned to influence and stay connected to bike issues in the future.

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