February 17th, 2011 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: Cops and Courts, Politics

Three Very Different Candidates up for Police Union Leadership

Portland Police Badge

 Members of the Portland Police Association last week nominated three cops to run for two open positions in the powerful 900-member union's leadership.

Sgt. Tom Perkins and Officer John Grable are running for secretary-treasurer, the union's No. 2 job. The position has been open since Officer Dave Dobler stepped down last month.

Perkins, a longtime school-resource cop, has been filling in for Dobler as interim. Cops say Perkins is known for his mellow attitude and is not particularly confrontational toward bureau management.

On the other hand, Grable—a Central Precinct officer who also serves on the union's executive board—has penned scathing diatribes against management in the union bulletin. Grable is also known in the bureau for suggesting officers disobey contentious orders. Both actions were detailed in a WW story when Grable ran for union president in 2008.

The other open position in the union's leadership is a seat on the executive board. That position opened last month when Sgt. Doug Justus abruptly retired from the bureau after 24 years. (See our story this week for the reasons behind Justus' departure, and his tort-claim notice against the city.)

The only nominee to fill Justus' spot on the executive board is Sgt. Jeff Niiya. Cops say Niiya is known for being one of the most intelligent cops on the force—and he's also not afraid to butt heads with management when justified.

Niiya appeared in the news back in 2003 as a "certified drug recognition expert" called to the scene when then-Trail Blazer Qyntel Woods was arrested for marijuana possession and speeding.

But Niiya's observations aren't always accurate. He arrived at the 2006 arrest of James Chasse Jr., who later died in police custody. Niiya told detectives (PDF) Chasse was "high on some kind of [drug] ... most likely a stimulant." 

Chasse, who was schizophrenic, was not taking any drugs.

Ballots will be mailed to members on March 2, and election results are expected on March 18.



 
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