On Saturday, August 19, east Portland residents had an opportunity to visit Portland Police Bureau’s (PPB’s) East Precinct, 737 S.E. 106th Ave., to meet and greet officers, command staff and other employees stationed at this southeast command post to learn what goes on there—and to eat ice cream.
The open house, coordinated by Administrative Supervisor Karen Lavoie, introduced visitors to several aspects of policing services and programs.
Most popular with youngsters was five-year-old Jasco, a German Shepherd K-9 patrol dog and his human partner, Officer Shawn Gore. The dog is one of 10 patrol dogs in the Portland Police Bureau. Jasco and Officer Gore posed in numerous photos with children and whole families. The K-9 enjoyed being the center of so much loving attention, but as sweet as he was to the adoring humans, Gore reminded them that just the night before, Jasco “caught two bad guys.” German shepherds are still the most popular choice for this work, though Gore says the Dutch shepherd and Belgian malinois are also choice breeds for police work. Most of Portland’s K-9 officers live with their human partners and their families. When asked where his office is, Officer Gore pointed to his car.
Tours of the facility were offered for 11 visitors at a time. While we waited in the reception room, which included an interview office and the front desk, staffed during open hours by a friendly young woman named Myrna, we noticed a sign on the wall: “You are in a police facility. All of your actions and conversations are subject to video and audio recording.”
Once the previous group came back, one of the cadets led the next group through a normally secured door. We saw several offices, photographs of Medal of Valor recipients and two memorial plaques and flags for officers killed in the line of duty. There were a lot of offices. We visited the holding cells (unoccupied on this occasion). Each cell included a cement single bed (ouch!) and a toilet.
The East Precinct has a mobile command unit, which looks very much like a very large SUV. Second to the police dog, the children on the tour enjoyed exploring a patrol car and pushing some buttons. Some wouldn’t go in the back seat “’cause that’s where the bad guys go, and you can’t get out if the door’s closed.”
Several programs that are citywide or specific to East Precinct had info tables sharing their offerings in the Precinct Community Room. One of these is EPIC, or East Precinct Involved Citizens, which involves volunteers in cooperation with the precinct’s officers and command staff (Commander Bryan Parman and Captain Dave Golliday). The participants go through a formal training that includes foot patrol, Neighborhood Watch and Apartment Watch. There are regular meetings to discuss neighborhood livability and crime reduction. Dave Smith is the coordinator for EPIC (email@example.com).
A program that involves youth participants is the Portland Police Bureau’s Cadet Program, offered for kids ages 16 to 21 who are interested in policing. Applications are rigorous and thorough. Young people who want to become cadets must be enrolled in high school, maintain a minimum 2.00 grade point average or have a high school diploma or a GED. If the applicant is accepted, he/she completes a training program. The Cadet Academy includes 30 hours of ride-alongs with a Cadet Advisor, 30 hours of details and a test that must be passed to complete the probation process. Mandatory meetings are held weekly, and cadets are expected to understand and obey all rules and regulations of the PPB and “demonstrate professional demeanor and remain in good standing at all times.” Not all activities are so stringent. Cadets visit schools, march in parades and participate in competitions with the cadets from other communities. For additional information, e-mail the cadet coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Outside, several officers shared the task of familiarizing visitors with pieces of equipment used in policing, such as duty belts, body armor (reinforced with either ceramic or Kevlar), a mobile radio, handcuffs, a taser, a shield and other necessary items. A children’s booklet that talks about these items and the work policemen do was available for kids to take home.
One table in the community room displayed the formal uniform worn by members of the Police Honor Guard. This program’s home office is at the Southeast Precinct on East Burnside Street. Honor Guards stand at funerals for fallen police officers. They also march in parades.
Turnout for the open house was better than expected, and most visitors, both adults and youngsters, enjoyed chatting with their neighborhood officers. The kids loved trying on various pieces of equipment. One youth, Jedidiah, is eager to apply for the cadets, but he must wait two more years.
It was an opportunity for all present to share and learn about the East Precinct and how it functions—and, of course, there was the ice cream.
For more information about East Precinct, or if you want to volunteer for EPIC, call Karen Lavoie at 503-823-4839 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
737 S.E. 106th Ave., Portland, Oregon 97216
Front desk hours: Mon. thru Fri. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed weekends and holidays
Commander Bryan Parman
Captain Dave Golliday
East Precinct Statistics
Square miles: 36.0
Street miles: 736.5