Portland Copwatch Analyzes Information in Rapping Back , the newspaper of the Portland Police Association

If you don't believe these items are really in print, ask a cop for a copy to copy (or keep)


As Measure 47 and other social-service threatening legislation breaks up the infrastructure of our country and our state, the common cry is to privatize social services. Well, why not the police? The March Rap Sheet devotes a column to "Special duty work." Police are being signed up to put in overtime at special events. The first such affair was the February 8 Portland Sportsmen show. A Sergeant and 5 officers were assigned to help out. It is the Portland Police Association [PPA]'s understanding that the City will hire them out for "Oregon Arena Corporation, movies, [and] zoo concerts."

How soon will this become a system in which corporations or wealthy civilians simply pay the city for police protection, and those who can't afford it go without?


Secretary Treasurer Tom Mack devoted an entire column in the February Rap Sheet to the retirement of Assistant Chief Roberta Webber. The headline was: "End of an era: 'The Queen' steps aside". Mack referred to "dark clouds surrounding the 15th floor [which] are about to clear, letting rays of sunshine and common sense shine through." He refers to "all of the evil the Queen spread," but puts in an anecdote --the only positive one he can think of--in which Webber helped him personally. He claims that people might describe her job as "to run roughshod over the officers below her in rank." Mack says his main concern is that the Chief of Operations should have knowledge of working the street, which he implies that Webber did not.

Consider for a moment if Webber had been a man. Perhaps she would have been called a "hard- ass" or some other derogatory term, but probably not "evil" or "the King". In the same issue, there is a short piece promoting a videotape on what it's like to be a woman in law enforcement, which doesn't mention the word "sexism."

He signs off by saying "Now, let the party begin."


In the March issue, there is a letter about a male officer coming to terms with women on the force. Officer Dave Hergert of the Traffic Division reports that during his early days as a cop in a small suburban town, his boss only hired secretaries whose nose couldn't touch the wall when standing against it. Very nice. He says that after coming to Portland he learned "a lot about change in myself" by working with female officers. He points out that there is pride in the force despite other "changes" including male officers with earrings or long hair and publicly gay officers. However, he never makes a statement that judging a woman by her breast size is reprehensible and he should have never tolerated such a work environment.

Of course, no apology can be expected in a newspaper that prints a section called "Hot tabloid crime news" and uses as its lead story a woman in Bogota, Columbia who had drugs hidden in her breast implants.


As part of their ongoing repertoire, the PPA has again published numerous comments regarding investigations by Internal Affairs (IA). The front-page of the February 1997 Rap Sheet has a long story by Duke Smith with the premise that "Even if the complaint is found to be unwarranted, the process can still have a negative effect on morale." He writes about "False and illogical" complaints which are a waste of department time to investigate.

His example story involves a clerk at an "adult bookstore" who complained that an officer was rude, causing him to quit his job. Apparently, a man in the bookstore called the police saying that some drug dealers had driven by and pointed a gun at him. When he told the officer he had seen the drug sale as a "motion picture on the side of a tall building," the officer asked whether the gun resembled one of the dildos in the bookshop. Smith claims the officer's purpose was to "steer the complainant in the direction of more irrational statements so as to confirm his mental state."

Regardless of whether someone is mentally challenged, it is inappropriate for an officer to make light of civilians' concerns. Therefore, the IA seems to have not been wasting their time looking into the complaint. [Smith concludes the article suggesting they did the clerk a favor by getting him to change jobs.]

Tom Mack, PPA Secretary-Treasurer, states that Chief Moose told him that IA is there to "stave off having us investigated by civilians." We hope that IA is doing a fair job, especially now that former PPA President Jeff Barker has joined the team of investigators.

Barker wrote a long piece for the Rap Sheet to assure his brethren that he was no turncoat. He imagined Capt. CW Jensen as Darth Vader asking Luke Skywalker to "join me on the dark side" [of the force....get it?]. Barker enumerates the reasons he will be a good IA investigator, including having been to lots of interviews as a suspect, a witness, an interviewee, and a union rep. Barker just began with IA in February and we hope that he will fulfill his promise to do a "fair, honest and timely job."


PPA President Leo Painton complains on the front page of the March Issue that the Chaplain's office as well as licensed doctors and psychologists have been replaced with the "Employee Assistance Program" and social workers. He points out that officers suffering from stress after having been involved in a shooting incident no longer have a place in the bureau to turn to. According to a revised general order they must now pay for their own consultation with a mental health counselor. Apparently this is in violation of the union contract, and we at the People's Police Report have to stand behind the PPA in asking the Bureau to cover therapy for shooter cops.


In the March issue, editor Loren Christensen goes off on "dopers"--drug users--who have been arrested under "Operation Northstar". Apparently, undercover cops downtown "dress slovenly, with fake needle marks, sometimes a black eye, bad teeth, open face sores, and an aura of nervous hunger", then offer to sell drugs to people who are promptly arrested. Commander Ed May of Central precinct believes that "If there are no buyers there will be no dealers." Hard to tell when the dealers are cops.

Christensen describes with panache how as soon as the deal goes down, "the unhappy doper kisses the concrete where he is searched for drugs and weapons." An officer told Christensen that the people falling prey to this sting operation are "scummy street predators." Nothing like sympathy for people turning away from a society gone mad falling prey to entrapment. By the way, don't be tempted to oppose these neo-fascist tactics, or Christensen will invite you to take the "scumbag dopers" home so they can steal your stuff.



The Rap Sheet Supports Copwatch?

Christensen reprinted in its entirety a long article by Berkeley Copwatch on what to do if stopped by police. We hope this means he is supportive of civilians who know their rights and refuse to be stopped, searched, or arrested illegally.

Who Forced Him to Do This?

A student from Beaverton wrote a letter of apology for flipping off a cop from a school bus. He adds he was sorry he took the policeman's time to pull the bus over and talk to the driver, embarrassing "my teacher, school and aunt and uncle."

Swords into Plowsh.....Oh, well.

A sidebar relates that "more than half of the 301 Bell OH-58 'Kiowa' helicopters designated for retirement by the U.S. military in fiscal 1996 have been committed to domestic law enforcement units." It goes on to say that over the last 4 1/2 years, "338 OH-58s, 92 McDonnell Douglas OH-6s and 49 UH-1s have been transferred to 165 U.S. law enforcement agencies." Do you suppose this must be the "peace dividend" we get for ending the cold war--having military weaponry turned on our own citizens?


The Rap Sheet is available from the Portland Police Association, 1313 NW 19th, Portland, OR 97209

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