March 31st, 2010 | by BETH SLOVIC News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Hitting Rewind As City Hall Considers Police Oversight

Dan Saltzman becomes police chief in 2009

City Hall is packed tonight as city commissioners and the mayor continue their discussion of the new ordinance to strengthen oversight of Portland Police.

We'll have more from City Hall later. Meantime, we're hitting the rewind button and posting excerpts from a press release Mayor Sam Adams put out when he was still a commissioner. Issued in the fall of 2008, it explained why Adams wanted to make Commissioner Dan Saltzman the police commissioner, even though most Portland mayors have chosen to keep the bureau to manage themselves. His words then seem quaint now:

"When I take office as mayor in 2009, Commissioner Dan Saltzman will assume responsibilities as commissioner in charge of the Portland Police Bureau. I arrive at this decision after careful consideration, and have determined this action to be in the city's best interest. With crime at a 20-year low and citizens telling us they feel safer than ever, Commissioner Saltzman's steady hand at the helm of police leadership will allow Portland's mayor to focus on the city's most pressing priorities."

It goes further.

"Dan is a change agent. As a rookie city commissioner in 1998 he inherited oversight of a Bureau of Emergency Communications that was suffering under absentee leadership. When his demands for workplace improvement went ignored under the protection of unduly broad civil service provisions, he successfully championed a voter-approved change to the city charter making bureau directors more accountable. He led the city's efforts at reform of the Fire Police Disability and Retirement Fund. This is an important decision for the city. Dan and I both understand the public expects its mayor to be engaged in law enforcement oversight."
 
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