February 5th, 2013 | by ANDREA DAMEWOOD and AARON MESH News | Posted In: City Hall, PDX News, Cops and Courts

The Last Police Duty Mike Kuykendall Did Was Help Propose Cuts to School Police and the Mounted Patrol

     
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mounted patrolPortland mounted police unit officer Greg Pashley exercises his horse Ian at the unit’s stables in 2009. - Darryl James

 Portland's city bureaus yesterday presented Mayor Charlie Hales with their proposed budget cuts for 2013—and the Portland Police Bureau is offering up high-profile items for the ax.

The budget proposal suggests cutting the entire school police, mounted patrol and property crimes investigation units.

The "point person" on the PPB budget was Director of Services Mike Kuykendall, who resigned Friday over e-mails to a subordinate that described East Precinct Capt. Mark Kruger as a Nazi.

"The budget runs through the director of services, so [Kuykendall] has been a big part of the budget process," says PPB spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

The city faces a $25 million budget shortfall this year. The police proposal suggests Kuykendall and the bureau have responded by playing budgetary hardball, utilizing what's known in City Hall as a "Washington Monument strategy": offering up the most famed and beloved programs for cuts, in a gamble that the City Council won't actually slash them.

The police have taken this tack before: They've threatened to cut the mounted patrol every year since 2009.

But this round of offered cuts includes a program that will certainly be hard for Hales to swallow: school policing in Portland Public Schools.

The police budget points out that this is not a core city service, but a job the cops folded into their budget in 2001. But the offer to remove it comes in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. school shooting—and Hales has taken a vocal role in decrying school violence.

Mayoral spokesman Dana Haynes says Hales has not yet cracked the books on any of the submitted bureau budgets.

"All of the line items in all of the budgets are things we are going to be looking at at," Haynes says. "Some of these things are going to be popular, and have constituents. But a $25 million hole is a $25 million hole."

The budget cuts meet Hales' requested 10 percent, which amounts to $15.6 million. That includes 154 jobs, 127 which are sworn and 27 non-sworn.

Cutting the school patrol will save $2.1 million, while axing the mounted patrol is set to save $1.1 million. Eliminating the property crimes unit will save $2.8 million.

Simpson tells WW the bureau's proposal is just a starting point, and what actually gets cut will be up to the City Council.

He said the cuts to high-profile services were "not a scare tactic."

"We have core services that we have to provide, unfortunately that means some other things have to get looked at very closely as potential cuts," he says. "We have to have enough officers to answer 911 calls primarily, and investigate violent crime."

All proposed bureau budgets submitted to Hales are set to be released tomorrow morning.

 
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