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Portland Police are hiring a college intern to help tackle bike theft

Posted by on December 16th, 2015 at 11:10 am

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Do you want to help police fight bike theft? If so, they’re hiring an intern.

As you know, we worked with the Portland Police Bureau to establish the Bike Theft Task Force last spring. The most important component of that effort was that it granted powers to two Central Precinct officers to spend official city time fighting this epidemic problem.

These officers are doing amazing work, but they only have a very limited time every week to devote to it. One of the biggest challenges we have is human capacity to throw at the problem. Now the PPB has taken a step to fix that by announcing the first-ever intern position devoted to bike theft.

According to the official description, the PPB is looking for someone who can volunteer (it’s unpaid, sorry) for 10-30 hours per month. Here’s more about the position:

The ideal applicant will be interested in bikes and addressing bike theft, and will help to create theft solutions for the City of Portland. The intern will work closely with the Bike Theft Task Force (BTTF), which is largely community driven with Police oversight.
Work may include:

• Research internal reports to analyze trends/patterns
• Distribute tips to the community via creative channels
• Network with BTTF partners in the biking community to promote the mission/goals to reduce bike theft
• Research efforts of other police departments around the nation to develop best practices for a comprehensive approach to the problem
• Work with bicycle recovery to improve practices within the Bureau to locate victims and return seized bikes to owners
• Assist with community engagement events that would promote theft education and bicycle registration.

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The new intern will report to Officers Dave Sanders and Dave Bryant — both of whom I can personally vouch for as solid employees who are 100% dedicated to fighting bike theft. Take a look at the PPB Bike Theft Twitter stream to see just a sampling of the work they’ve been doing out there.

Officers Sanders told me this morning that he’s hoping to find two interns. “There is enough work for someone to do this full time.” As for what the intern will be doing, Sanders said he’s open to expanding what’s on the description. He’s got a list of things that he thinks, “Would drastically benefit the cycling community as a whole.”

“I hope to select two applicants who are passionate about addressing this problem and who may contribute creative solutions to solving it,” he said.

Why doesn’t the PPB just assign more officers to the task? Well, in case you haven’t heard there’s a very acute shortage of officers these days.

The position is only open to currently enrolled college students who are able to work between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm Wednesday through Saturday.

If you’re interested, send your application to Jennie Alexander in the PPB Personnel Division via jennie.alexander@portlandoregon.gov. You’ll also need to include a cover letter with contact information, your course of study, your resume, and a brief description of your qualifications and interest in being involved with bike theft prevention.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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resopmok
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resopmok

I’m glad PPB is reaching out for help dealing with a problem they seem not to have resources to address. The cynic in me, however, worries that they will soon see how they get what they pay for, and that would be of little benefit to the whole community. For what seems to be such a prevelant property crime, I wonder why so little help is forthcoming; bike theft is not a victimless crime. Where can more funding to address bike theft be found, and what would be the best way to spend those resources?

SilkySlim
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SilkySlim

Fight fire with undergrads! Errr, undergrad. Errr, unpaid undergrad. Errr, part time, unpaid undergrad.

Lillian
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Lillian

Disappointed that they’re not paying the intern. I interned at Portland Police and was paid for my time.

Additionally, isn’t that a FLSA violation to have a public sector intern who is displacing the work of paid employees?

scott
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scott

Unpaid? Wow. That seems wildly out of touch. I’m aware of that type of internship from the fashion industry, or advertising, or high finance where who you know is very important and bloated fat cats often prey upon the eager and energetic to exploit their drive and desire, but unpaid to be a cop lackey? Cops, if anything, prove time and again that anyone can be a cop. I mean, I’m not even sure how that would boost a resume unless you were applying for loss prevention at Wal-Mart.

Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

With the increased enforcement in the CBD/ Inner Eastside the bike chop shops may be radiating outwards. Just last week…I saw a man with several bikes and parts in a shopping cart down on the Smear Train under crossing as I biked over the Denver Viaduct.

Tom Hardy
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Tom Hardy

I applied a couple of years ago to “Volunteer at the PPB in the bike theft program but they would not accept anyone that was not a registered student. Unfortunately an EE tutor did not qualify. so been there dun that did not qualify.

Mark
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Mark

So the police need to exploit college students in order to tamp down the exploitation of college students by bike theft.

Hmmm.

Mike Quiglery
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Mike Quiglery

Appears to be a paper shuffling/generating job for the most part. Don’t expect much to come of it. Maybe that’s why it’s unpaid?

Ron G.
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Ron G.

From the description this sounds like a violation of the spirit, if not the actual letter, of internship requirements. Internships are supposed to be training-based; and, according to the state’s website, “The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainees or students; and on occasion his operations may actually be impeded.”
It really looks like they’re attempting to derive immediate advantage. PPB should be doing this in-house, with real staff. If for some reason they find investigating one of the biggest categories of theft (in terms of incidence, anyway) too distasteful, they should hire a qualified consultant who actually cares.
It’s pretty well documented that bikes can be currency in underground economies, so disrupting the flow of stolen bikes could have some major positive benefits in addressing overall crime. The fact that it remains such a low priority they’d hand it off to a volunteer shows they’re still looking at bike theft as a playground problem.