OPB confirmed Wednesday that Portland police officers were given permission to cover their names and badge numbers while policing protests.
Terri Wallo-Strauss, spokesperson for the Portland Police Bureau, told OPB that former Chief Jami Resch authorized the measure to protect officers from “doxxing.” Wallo-Strauss said officers can still be identified by their internal badge number if needed. (RELATED: Police Officer Resigns After Allegedly Using Police Database To Find A Woman On Facebook)
“The reason is our officers were being doxxed, and their safety and that of their families is paramount,” Wallo-Strauss said in the interview with OPB. “Doxxing” is when private information such as addresses, cell phone numbers and family members are discovered and published online. This is a risk due to the tension between protesters and police officers.
After police cleared violent antifa/BLM rioters from the Portland street where an arson attack took place, protesters go on an expletive-laden rant against them: “F— your family. F— your kids!”
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 18, 2020
An email, obtained by OPB, sent June 6 by Commander Erica Hurley to police officials said, “Please let your officers/sergeants know as soon as possible they may cover their name tags on their uniforms with a label containing their BHR Personnel Number (PRN) number. Also have them write their number on light colored tape on the back of their helmets.”
Protesters who wish to file a complaint may take the personnel number mentioned in the email to the Independent Police Review, an agency that investigates alleged police misconduct, according to OPB.
Portland Antifa’s attempt at an autonomous zone has ended as police decend upon them and clear the area pic.twitter.com/VyS5bVA0VM
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) June 18, 2020
“If we get to a situation where we think it is harder to identify these officers because they have a number on their helmet and on their chest, as opposed to just a name tag on their chest, that’s something we’re going back to the police bureau and the mayor, the police commissioner, and say, ‘Hey you’ve got to balance some things — you have two competing things that are concerning, you’re going to have to make a decision,'” Ross Caldwell, director of the Independent Police Review, told OPB.
Kelly Simon, the interim legal director for Oregon’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told OPB that while she appreciates the need to protect officers’ privacy, there needs to be an easy way for protesters to identify police.
“In no circumstances should there be anonymous police troops in our streets,” said Simon.