The news last week that Mayor Vera Katz has proposed firing prominent police Capt. C.W. Jensen was surprising to some observers--but less so when you look at who made the call: Assistant Chief Stan Grubbs.
Jensen went out on disability four years ago, citing post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism due to an earlier shooting. His departure halted an investigation relating to a claim for reimbursement for meals which had already been paid for by someone else. He spent two years as KGW-TV crime reporter before deciding to attempt to return to the bureau--thus restarting the probe.
Usually police chiefs rule over disciplinary matters, but Derrick Foxworth begged off given his friendship with Jensen (Jensen was a member of Foxworth's wedding party) and handed the job to Grubbs, his former patrol partner and current right-hand man.
In terms of personality, Jensen and Grubbs could not be more different. Jensen is a gregarious glad-hander who was a commentator on the "World's Scariest Police Chases" and "Police Videos" on Fox from 1997 to 2001.
Grubbs, meanwhile, is viewed as a workaholic loner whose social skills are not his strong point. More importantly, Grubbs is a stickler whose ethics have become the stuff of bureau legend. The story goes like this: About 20 years ago, when he was a rookie working in North Precinct, his fellow cops used to throw coins in the back seat of his patrol car when he wasn't around. Then they'd watch from afar as he crawled around in the back seat at the end of his shift and gathered up the coins to turn in--painstakingly filling out the requisite "found property" report each time.
According to a source who participated, the pranksters started out with quarters, then decreased the currency. "I think we got him down to under five pennies," an officer told WW. "It was pretty funny. Most cops would have thrown them away or left them there."
Later, as Southeast Precinct commander, Grubbs was known for writing up his expectations for subordinates--a contract of sorts--then calling them in and making them sign it.
While many cops appreciated his no-BS focus on accountability, others did not. More than a year ago, the Portland Police Association presented then-chief Mark Kroeker with several complaints from Southeast Precinct cops portraying Grubbs as a rude and arbitrary micromanager.
Today, cops say that as assistant chief, Grubbs is already shaking up the bureau--for instance, sending back reports for grammatical corrections, and going around to precincts to review record-keeping. "They've got people scared," says one cop. "These two guys read everything."