February 10th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Saltzman Criticizes Response Time in Campbell Shooting (with Correction)


Critical of the fact it took more than 25 minutes to reach the body of a man recently shot by Portland police, City Commissioner Dan Saltzman has ordered money set aside to equip all Portland cops with ballistic shields.

The shields would allow cops on the scene to more quickly approach a shooting victim in situations like the one that unfolded Jan. 29 in the shooting death of 25-year-old Aaron Campbell.

The shields Saltzman is talking about are these :


When cops arrived at the scene, Campbell was inside an apartment in Northeast Portland with three young children. He was reported to be armed and suicidal.

Campbell, who was distraught over the death of his younger brother, eventually emerged from the apartment with his hands behind his head. But when he refused police orders, police shot Campbell with beanbag rounds.

Officer Ronald Frashour then shot Campbell in the back with an AR-15 assault rifle as Campbell moved back toward the apartment building, saying he believed Campbell was reaching for his waistband.

Frashour fired shortly after 6:08 pm, police records show.

Campbell fell on his hands, so officers still assumed he was armed. And his body was shielded behind a vehicle, making it difficult to approach safely.

The shooting occurred more than an hour and a half after the police were first called, so the scene unfolded slowly. Many backup officers had arrived, including North Precinct Capt. Bob Day.

Yet despite the fact Day was at the scene to provide leadership, it took 13 minutes from the time of the shooting to page the police Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), records show.

The records are unclear about exactly what time SERT showed up. But a cop familiar with the internal police investigation now under way says it took about 13 minutes for SERT to arrive from North Precinct — a comparatively quick response.

Once SERT members arrived, they used ballistic shields to safely approach the body and discover Campbell was, in fact, dead and unarmed. Because Campbell's injuries from the bullet were later found to be catastrophic, it's assumed he died instantly.

But if he had needed medical attention, it would have taken more than 25 minutes before anyone examined him. For Saltzman, that time lag is unacceptable.

"One thing that needs to be rectified was the amount of time it took for somebody to check whether he was in fact dead or alive," Saltzman says. "That's something I'm clearly going to rectify."

On Monday, Feb. 8, Saltzman told Chief Rosie Sizer he wants all federal money that goes to the police bureau from drug forfeitures to be channeled into buying more ballistic shields.

Saltzman's chief of staff, Brendan Finn, says Sizer agreed it was a good idea.

"This is something the bureau's been working on," says police spokeswoman Det. Mary Wheat. "They discussed the urgency of moving forward on it."

(CORRECTION: The original version of this post said that Saltzman was at the scene of the shooting. He was not. WW regrets the error.)
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