National News

Portland Police Bureau to devote more time to community policing

Posted August 7

— Mayor Ted Wheeler announced Friday an effort to improve safety in Portland. Soon, there will be more officers seen walking and biking the city.

According to Wheeler, Springwater Corridor, Laurelhurst Park, Old Town/Chinatown, North Park Blocks, Ankeny Alley, and the Hawthorne Business District areas are the focus of this new program.

Portland police officers at the North Park Blocks Sunday said this new program helps them to build trust with people while also being able to address public safety issues.

Officer RaeLynn McKay said it's not just about arrests and citations.

"They see the uniform. They hear everything on the news. They see what's on the news and they get scared. Whereas if they just know me like, 'Hey I'm Rae, nice to meet you. Can I pet your dog?' I mean, it kind of humanizes us," said McKay.

She said likes to say "hello" to new faces and connect with business owners in the Old Town/Chinatown area, which is her district.

Portland police say the mayor knows community policing is vital. If police aren't patrolling in cars as much, people will see more face-to-face interaction from bike and foot patrols.

People at the North Park Blocks say more officer visibility can only help the crime rate.

"I think just the presence … just the visible presence would have an effect," said Brian Buras, who was visiting the North Park Blocks area with his family Sunday.

"I really appreciate caring police officers that are coming from the heart. I love it," said Teresa Shannon, who says she feels secure with more police on the ground.

Portland police say Wheeler is devoting $200,000 to the Community Policing Pilot Program, which is $50,000 more than last year.

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