December 2000 Rap Sheet  


Analysis of the Portland Police
'Union' Newsletter,
the Rap Sheet

--Insulted ideologues, imaginative inventions and
inspired (or insipid) inkings of investigative inspectors--

"Cultural Diversity for Everyone Else, I'm Already Open-Minded"

Portland Police officer, critic of Chief Kroeker, and fundamentalist Christian Rob Blanck defended his right to oppose gays and lesbians while "they" labeled him a "hate-filled bigot" in December's Police "union" newsletter, the Rap Sheet. We thought we'd share some of his comments with you to show you how much he has learned from years of diversity training.

Blanck says that Lesbian Avengers shouted him down and called him names while he was attending a Promise Keepers meeting, but he was willing to listen to what they had to say. (Exhibit One: The Promise Keepers believe that a woman's place is in the home.)

Blanck also defended Chief Kroeker's "religious" statements about gays and lesbians having a "perverse lifestyle" (see PPR #22), noting that "a civil war is beginning to boil over in this country. Our founders wrote the Constitution with first-hand knowledge of religious persecution. They penned the 1st Amendment... purposefully giving religious freedom top billing." (History Lesson: the pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution, the "founders" wrote the constitution to break free of political and economic repression.)

His biggest concern, though, seemed to be that the Bureau was requiring all cops to attend a diversity training on sexual orientation. "This is the 3rd or 4th such training in 10 years! For a group of people making up less than 5 percent of the population, do you ever wonder why they are getting so much of our training time?" (Exhibit two: Most statistics state that about 10 percent of the population is gay, lesbian, or bisexual; if you add transgendered folks and factor in that this is Portland, the amount is probably higher. Besides, at one hour of forty-hour "in-service" trainings over ten years, this means that 4 hours out of 400­1%­have been spent on sexual orientation.)

Cartoon of Rob Blanck's Mind

Blanck says the last time he attended a training, he asked the presenter, who was gay, what police could do differently. Blanck relates that the presenter essentially said "not much" and then "continued to tell us about his deviant lifestyle." (Exhibit Three: Blanck learned so much, he continues to think of a gay man as "deviant.")

Blanck goes on to state emphatically that he has "sworn to uphold the law and serve and protect. EVERYONE. I do this because it is the mandate of my faith, not my job." Blanck then invokes Federal Title VII, which allows employees to opt out of employment requirements which conflict with sincere religious beliefs.

In the January issue, Blanck sticks his foot further in his mouth, reporting that his request to opt out on religious grounds was denied and referring to "the carnival sideshow they call in-service training." (Exhibit Four) "Apparently, the Chief's office didn't bother to look at the law," He writes. "It is apparent that the Mayor and Chief's political correctness trumps my religious rights." (Exhibit Five)

"I suggested that if a small segment of society has a perception problem with police, training the police about their misconceptions is the wrong emphasis. Perhaps they should be the ones learning a new perspective and try to go beyond perception to reality." (Exhibit... Who's counting any more?)

Portland Cop Invents Flash-spray? Pepperlight?

Shooter cop Randy Tieg has invented an item we're sure the world has been waiting for: A combination flashlight/pepper spray canister. One night several years ago, we are told by editor Loren Christensen in December's Rap Sheet, Tieg had cornered a suspect--gun in one hand, flashlight in the other. The suspect approached, and Tieg "had a decision to make: Should he keep his gun out, in which case he may end up wrestling the guy while trying to hold onto it, or holster it and go for the pepper spray, and hope that he doesn't need the gun?"

Tieg decided to use the pepper spray and ended the situation without shots fired--but it makes you wonder if he'd have invented a combination gun/flashlight if he had chosen differently.

The article states that the flashlight (the "TigerLight") contains pepper spray behind a spring-loaded lid on the back end; puts out at least 50,000 candlepower; can spray in a cone or a stream; and is a favorite of "police officers, DEA agents and even the military."

Rap Sheet Seeks Editorial Policy

Retired cop and current long-time Rap Sheet editor Loren Christensen introduces the idea of editorial guidelines for the newsletter in his February column. "When I took the gig, I was told to write pieces targeting the administration, city government, media and anti-police groups. In the first couple of issues, my articles were critiqued as too soft, and I was told to kick it up a couple of notches and really hammer those who deserved it. Perhaps following this example, other officers have submitted pieces over the years that have been strongly worded, too; perhaps even offensive to some readers."

Along the same lines, Officer Lana Mockler wrote a letter (printed in the same issue) stating that the "union" is intended to "promote unity within its membership" and the Rap Sheet should only focus on Police Association issues. She expresses concern about past articles, which featured endorsements of presidential candidates, inappropriate jokes, and Rob Blanck's comment that homosexuals are "deviant."

Although she raises the points just to ask the question "what are the guidelines?", it is pretty clear she joins those who worry about the wacky things we reprint from the Rap Sheet here in the People's Police Report. Mockler writes: "A paper that becomes a pulpit for individual members' personal beliefs that degrade other members should not be funded with union money."

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