Source of the tsuris

Among the many problems with Portland law enforcement is that the police union has completely outfoxed the City Council, the city attorney, and the state legislature. Every time you turn around, you discover another bad situation brought about by the union contract and the way it's handled under state law. The only people who benefit are cops, most of whom don't live in Portland and don't share most of the community's values.

As a result of this imbalance of power, cops who commit misconduct get away with it entirely, or take a slap on the wrist; there's rarely a true public accounting. As a case in point, we still don't know what Brian Hunzeker, the disgraced former police union chief, did in connection with the Jo Ann Hardesty slander incident to get himself booted out of the union office, and even off his police motorcycle. It's been four months now since he did whatever it was and was sent home to Ridgefield, Washington.

Yesterday we stumbled upon another example. You know that unarmed response team they're trying out to attend to people in mental health crises in the Lents neighborhood? Well, if the city wants to expand the types of calls that the not-the-police respond to, apparently the change has to be approved by the union.

Who the hell is running the police bureau, the mayor or the union? Hint: It ain't the mayor.

The whole idea of a police union is a shaky proposition to me. We don't allow people in the Army to unionize. And  the cops see themselves as a military force. Maybe somebody ought to pull a Reagan move and bust their union.

But short of that, it would help if we had competent management sitting on the other side of the bargaining table. I'm looking at Dud Wheeler and his collection of city attorneys, and they are not impressing me as having what it takes to get the best deal for the taxpayers and other residents.

Speaking of which, the old contract expired two weeks ago. Where is the new one? What are the sticking points? Hush hush, it's all secret, my dear. The public is best served when the public doesn't know what is going on. It's the Portland way.


  1. It looks like the old contract expired 14 months ago, unless you posted the wrong cover.

    1. Bad math. I meant 54 weeks ago.

    2. It was renewed last year for an additional year. But you're right, "as you can see" was incorrect.


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