Portland Police Only Find 3 Applicants Who Can Pass Background Amid Hiring Push

Portland has a police shortage and the union said it has more to do with anti-police sentiment than background checks.

Portland, OR – The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) is running dangerously short on officers as only three out of 60 recent applicants were able to pass the background check, but the police union said the problem is much bigger than that.

Portland Police Bureau Chief Danielle Outlaw recently told a meeting of city commissioners that there are 120 vacancies in what should be a department of 1,000 officers for the city, KOIN reported.

Out of more than 60 applicants for public safety specialist jobs, only three were able to pass the required background check.

Most of those who failed did so because of marijuana use or dishonesty, KOIN reported.

Despite changing marijuana laws, anyone who has smoked it in the past year is ineligible for the police force because the drug still violates federal law.

But the head of the police union said in a press release on Monday that the officer shortage has less to do with passing the background check than the PPB’s inability to attract the best applicants because of anti-police sentiment in the city, KOIN reported.

Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner said that good potential recruits prefer to work someplace else for the same or better pay instead of “working under a microscope in a highly politicized city where police officers are vilified,” the press release continued. “This notion, of course, seemed to go right over the Commissioners’ heads."

In February, the police union published an open letter that called attention to the problem, KPTV reported.

Turner talked about “catastrophic staffing shortages” and both the patrol and investigative levels.

In his letter, Turner said that officers were being placed at risk by the shortage, according to KPTV.

He also said that assault victims in Portland only have a 3.5 percent change of having their cases actually be investigated.

Turner said that the 93 new positions included in the PPB budget proposal were a good “first step” to addressing the shortage of officers, but said the effort would also require the mayor to bring a “can-do attitude to public safety,” KPTV reported.

The police union president blamed the shortage of officers on one specific thing.

“The intense anti-police sentiment in our City that City Council seems to share. The result of that problem is that policing in Portland is hideously unattractive, discouraging good applicants from applying and prompting our officers to leave or retire as soon as they’re able,” Turner said in the April 8 press release.

He said the community knew officers weren’t doing their jobs “because they know City Hall has put a stranglehold on proactive policing and enforcement and has been completely unsupportive of PPB and its officers.”

“False narratives, knee jerk political reactions, along with personal and political agendas have created a hostile work environment and made it an impossible task to effectively police in the City of Portland,” the union president said in the press release.

“Our police officers are frustrated,” Turner continued. “They deserve better. They deserve to work in an environment where they can perform their primary function — keeping our communities safe — with the support of City Hall. Similarly, our communities are frustrated. They deserve better. They deserve safe, clean streets. It’s that simple.”

Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty asked Chief Outlaw at the city council meeting if, in light of the police officer shortage, more officials shouldn’t be reassigned to patrol duty, according to KOIN.

"Is there a way to reconfigure your workforce to have more officers on the street rather than in supervisor or specialty units?" Hardesty asked.

The chief responded that to do so would reduce oversight on patrol officers, KOIN reported.

"I'm sure there is a way to flatten the hierarchy," Chief Outlaw said. "But the issue with that is to maintain accountability and chain of command."

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has asked the chief to cut one percent of the PPB budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Chief Outlaw proposed dropping the self-defense training courses being offered to the public, but the city commissioners put the kibosh on that idea, KOIN reported.

Comments (51)
No. 1-25
JBo
JBo

Well then, if your life is in danger...just call a councilman. I'm sure they'd step up to the plate. <snicker>

Jeff1245
Jeff1245

Dont blame them put badges on those city officials and put them out there.

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

What do you have to say now Portland City Board Members? Whose fault is it now? Not many left you can now blame. Instead of constantly criticizing others and the Police I suggest get off your bloated fat asses and think about the problems your pseudo intellectuals have created and find real solutions to fill vacancies. ....and unless it is a true solution then STFU. If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.

MFLindsey
MFLindsey

When I first applied for a police position in the 70's it was not uncommon to have hundreds of applicants per position available. Tiny mistakes in the hiring process or academy would cost you a job. Now many departments don't even get as many applicants as they have openings. Agencies hire lawyers to get felonies reduced to misdemeanors so an applicant can be hired. Agencies hire tutors to get applicants through the academy. Instead of hiring the best of the best they hire the least worst that they think they can get on the street. Anybody who doesn't realize that this has a drastic impact on our quality of life is not paying attention. . .

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

Reap what you sow Portland....to my brothers and sisters in the communist socialist country of Oregon....let it burn!

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

Each one of those commissioners should work one week with a patrol unit as a tag along before making armchair quarterback decisions they're unqualified to make.

GForce48
GForce48

We can no longer entrust our collective security into the hands of Dems/libs/socialists as they do not have the best interests of American citizens as their primary priority! This is case in point.

RPG156
RPG156

My heart goes out to the dedicated, hard-working PPB officers who prove every day that they do more with less. Less community and political support. And so undeserved because the city encourages the inmates to run the asylum.

RPG156
RPG156

Dear Portland Officers.... Dallas PD is hiring.

tfort
tfort

All cops ever do is complain about how much they don’t like their jobs. That is your problem.

Just look at the comments posted on the stories on this site. It’s all negative.

Like what you do and be positive and others will want to join you in the department.

Dark_ePoch
Dark_ePoch

You can't blame any of it on the background check. They only had 60 applicants! Even if they all passed, they're still 33 applicants shy of full staffing. When I got on in 96, there were 75 applicants for 1 spot.

NFPD103
NFPD103

The Commissioners, Mayor, and other political figures are to blame for the current personnel shortage and overall low moralMaybe .the Mayor needs to shut the F up and let the Police chief run the department.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Recruiting is a huge problem all across the country due to the current war on the police perpetrated by the lying media, the lying terrorist group BLM and spineless corrupt politicians. Who in their right mind would want to do this difficult and dangerous job in todays society? Some serious changes need to be made.

ForestJohn
ForestJohn

People want to go to work where they can do police work, not liberal babysitting.. I'll bet they get ZERO lateral applicants...

10851
10851

Its rediculas to disqualify anyone for smoking pot. Hell, even the FBI no longer disqualifies applicants who admitted to smoking pot...

5150
5150

Unless you are in a community like mine where the police are respected, I could not imagine becoming a police officer anymore. Why take a job where you will just be hated?

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

Their city is reaping what it has sowed.....

Robert-
Robert-

Potland only hires affirmative action retards.

CAFGuthrie
CAFGuthrie

Portland chooses which federal laws they want to abide by. They are a sanctuary city which, in my mind, is more dangerous than smoking pot more than 12 months ago. Pot is legal in Oregon.

policeofficermom
policeofficermom

My children who are police officers said their children, my grandchildren, will never be allowed to be cops! Can you blame them!!

FREERAVEN23
FREERAVEN23

It's not the pot that's the issue. It is Portland City Hall and our Governor. It's the Police Chief and Mayor who dint back their own officers in nothing! They are told to stand down in 90% of all situations. If they have ti shoot a criminal they are hung out to dry on their own. I live an hour and a half from Portland and dread even having to go up there.

Swededawg
Swededawg

I wonder if Wheeler's, Oakland PD (worse in the nation) transplant could even pass the background. She is nothing but a puppet for the weak, Socialist mayor and she has no respect from the officers.

Maui2082
Maui2082

I feel awful for Portland police officers. Unfortunately the negative sludge is expanding along the entire west coast. I only hope the political players pushing this negativity will learn their lesson from their own stupid ideology when there’s no police available to respond to their personal emergency some day! Stupidity to the max!

fedupveteran
fedupveteran

The liberal policies and affirmative action have created this. Hire the best qualified regardless of race, color, origin, religion, sex or any other characteristic. PERIOD!