REPORT: Cops Quitting At ‘Unprecedented’ Numbers In Portland

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Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Police officers in Portland are resigning in the middle of their careers at “unprecedented” numbers due to poor working conditions, according to the Portland Tribune.

Michael Frome, Portland assistant chief and head of the Portland Police Bureau’s human resources department, told the Portland Tribune that nine officers have resigned since November. Frome said that seven officers have filed papers to resign in the next few weeks and a total of 14 officers have filled out paperwork to retire by January.

Frome suggested these numbers might be low-end estimates. “We have around 25 people that may be in the process of trying to get hired in other places,” Frome said based on record requests made by other police departments. (RELATED: Portland Autonomous Zone Removing Barricades After Mayor, Police Chief Apologize)

“This is unprecedented,” Frome claimed in the interview with the Tribune. “We really have not seen this many people leaving at this stage in their career,” Frome added, “They’re leaving because they just don’t enjoy working here anymore.”

Many of these officers are deciding to take lower-paying jobs in smaller towns in Oregon and other states, as reported by Fox News.

The recent movement of Portland officers seems to have reversed the common trend of officers from smaller towns, such as Beaverton, Oregon and Boise, Idaho, coming to Portland for higher pay, as reported by Fox News.

“Salaries in Boise are lower than salaries in Portland and the officers coming to Boise will be taking a cut in pay,” Boise Police Department spokesman Haley Williams confirmed.

Ryan Lee, the Boise Police Chief who formerly served as the Portland Police Bureau’s assistant chief, told the Portland Tribune that he has recently hired four officers from police officers looking to leave Portland.

Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell recently announced that traffic cops will be reassigned with responding to 911 calls, as reported by Fox News. All K-9 officers will be moved to providing emergency services as well, according to Fox News.

Portland has been embroiled in large amounts of unrest directed at police in the wake of the death of George Floyd. “For a lot of these people that are choosing to go somewhere else, they spent a lot of months this last summer constantly being yelled at to ‘Quit your job, quit your job,'” Frome said, according to Fox News.

“That cumulative toll on our officers, it builds up. So in some ways, yes, there is a win by those that would want the police to be defunded,” Frome said.

The Portland City Council voted in July to cut the Portland police budget by $15 million. The budget cuts forced Portland police to fill office vacancies, which raised expenses for the department, according to Fox News. Some of the expenses were being used to give overtime pay to officers responding to rioting, as reported by Fox News. As riots continued, the bureau was forced to cut funds in other areas and freeze hiring in order to respond, Fox News reported.

“When the cuts came in and we basically lost our vacancies, that put us in a bigger fiscal hole than we were anticipating being in,” Frome claimed. “We didn’t have the money to hire, so we laid off basically half of our background investigators. We laid off our recruiter, because we just did not see a position in the near future where we were going to be able to use them to capacity,” Frome added.

Frome added that the situation regarding officers leaving Portland has not placed the police bureau in a grim situation yet, according to Fox News, thanks to around 50 newly-trained officers expected to join the force next year. However, given the bureau has to shell out training expenses, payment to the supervising officer of the trainee, and about 18 months of salary, training new officers can be costly, even before they are on patrol, Fox News reported.