In the August issue of the Portland Police Association (PPA) newsletter, the Rap Sheet, PPA President Greg Pluchos directly stated that Kroeker is a "harsh disciplinarian. As a result," Pluchos continued, "the PPA now has pending more grievances challenging the firing of officers than it has at any time in the past."
In September, PPA Secretary-Treasurer Tom Mack agreed with Pluchos: "We have a new Chief who seems to be almost unbending in his disciplinary sanctions against officers. Since the new Chief arrived in Portland, the severity of these sanctions has become almost cruel. In several cases, the severe discipline is the result of first and only mistakes by the involved officers.... what happened to the concept of progressive discipline[?]"
In the same issue, Kurt Nelson, one of the PPA Vice Presidents, confirms Pluchos' and Mack's statements about Kroeker and counts six officers who are threatened with termination. "It is rare that two members are terminated in one year, so to set the pace of one-a-month is unheard of."
He goes on to say that discipline is not the only issue; additionally, the management never listens to anything the PPA says. "Some on the Executive Board perceive an administration openly hostile to collective bargaining, worker input, and consensus building...We fear the new chief has drawn a line in the sand, daring the PPA to cross it to protect our members."
Chief Kroeker has been trying to "streamline" the PPB's General Orders, guidelines which govern officer behavior (in PPR #21 we noted that he removed the G.O. on "Respect for Constitutional Rights").
Two recent revisions which came our way make us wish that someone, somewhere will stop the Chief before it is too late.
For instance, in the General Order on "less lethal weapons" (#1050.00), Kroeker's rewrite cuts the rules in half. Certain essential passages which were previously underlined for emphasis have been buried in the text or rewritten so that their meaning is unclear. The phrase stating that even though lead-pellet bags and other munitions are "designated to be less lethal, [they are] not to be considered 'non-lethal'" is no longer underlined. The rule that "the officer will not delay in seeking appropriate medical care, regardless of whether a supervisor has yet arrived" has been summarized to say "a supervisor will respond to the scene (and hospital, if transported before arrival)."
Kroeker has also renamed the awkward "Meritorious Service Medal of Valor," now the "Police Medal." The G.O. (#210.90) explains one reason an officer might receive the Medal: if "there was a serious threat to their life and the nominee had to use deadly force to address the threat." As always, we question the use of the phrase "had to use deadly force," particularly in a reward setting.
Although we wrote a lot about police haircuts in the last issue, we need to share this tidbit from Officer Brett Livingston in the August Rap Sheet about having to shave off his goatee for Kroeker's new "Grooming" General Order. Livingston points out that the goatee in no way would prevent a gas mask from sealing under his chin, one of Kroeker's reasons for the clean-shaven directive. "Don't get me wrong. I think that having a gas mask to cart around is a good idea. The last couple of times that I've been attacked by mustard gas, I wondered why I didn't have one available to me.
"The truth of the matter is that the slight possibility of some irritation due to tear gas falls well short of the certain irritation I feel having to shave off part of my persona. The tear gas wears off after a bit too, while my darkened and sour attitude will follow me 24/7."
The September 12 Oregonian headline sounded like a tabloid: "Kroeker denies rumors that he's chasing L.A. job." While spending federal grant money jet-setting to recruit more officers to Portland, Kroeker stopped in to see some old buddies at the LAPD. CNN cablecast a segment making it sound like L.A. wanted him to consider replacing beleaguered Chief Bernard Parks. Kroeker went out of his way to deny the story, sending a video to each precinct in Portland. Nonetheless, we have to hope that since he sought to be L.A.'s chief twice before, maybe he will hear the calling and be on his way.
Kroeker's a Big Bigot (lead story)
e's Police Report
#22 Table of Contents
People's Police Report Index Page
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