People's Police Report
Shootings & deaths
Portland Police Lament 'Hero' (Killer) Cops Treated Badly By the Public and the Media
In the April 1999 issue of the Portland Police Association's newsletter, the Rap Sheet, editor and former Portland cop Loren Christensen wrote about "Hero cops maligned by the media." He refers to the times when "the you-know-what hits the fan, all your survival training kicks in, and your trained actions save your life or the lives of others. But in so doing, the perpetrator is hurt, or killed.... You're OK, you did the right thing. You...saved yours or someone else's bacon. In police vernacular--it was a clean deal.
"Ha! You are soooo wrong.
"As the dust begins to settle and you are looking for some clean underwear, the media sweeps in with their bright lights, hairspray, and News Helicopter Air Whatever. 'Did the police overact[sic]?' they ask urgently and pointedly into the camera. 'Was the victim--this father of two, this high school football star, this man who loved his mother so much, this racial minority, this sexual minority, this mentally challenged, this vertically challenged, this visually impaired, this balding, this dandruff flaker, this menopause sufferer--shot unnecessarily by the police with their high-tech weapons and gestapo tactics?'
"Before you even begin your reports, the special interest groups are panting with surprise as they plan their defaming sound bites before the news cameras, their accusatory letters to the editor, and what songs they will sing as they march through the streets with their candles and sad expressions."
LC goes on to describe how AP reporter Larry McShane has written a book,
"'As police forces become more integrated, it seems that the race of the suspect is more important than the race of the officer involved. The cops are always blue, regardless of heritage.'" (How astute!)
Apparently, many of the cases headed to court, where in all but one case, still pending as of the book's publication, the officers were found not guilty. Christensen states that in many cases, "jurors were incredulous that they were even brought to trial."
In May's Rap Sheet, Christensen follows Greg Pluchos, PPA President, for a day. Apparently, Pluchos is currently working on officers' rights in deadly force and death-in-custody situations. Police detectives handle such incidents as criminal investigations. Pluchos looks at his job this way: "We have to find a balance between the district attorney's and the community's right to know with those rights of a police officer in a criminal investigation."
Portland Copwatch is a grassroots, volunteer organization promoting police accountability through citizen action.