Commissioner Randy Leonard's proposal
to make Water Bureau security guards armed police officers requires City Council approval, which could come this month. Commissioner Dan Saltzman is on record calling the idea —first reported Wednesday in WW
— "totally unnecessary."
What follows is the email exchange among Leonard; David Shaff,
the Water Bureau director; John Minnis,
former Republican lawmaker, husband of former Oregon House Speaker Karen Minnis
and current director of the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, plus other officials:
Just to be clear, we are not exploring upgrading to certified police officers. We have made that decision.
What we will need your assistance in is how to make that happen as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
I don't know if you remember me from my HR days here in Portland, but it's going to be like old home week working with you, Dave, Roger, and many of our ex-PPB staff who are now part of our current security force.
David Shaff, Administrator
Portland Water Bureau"
Thank you for the e-mail and inquiry. I have copied our Standards and Certification section for analysis. One issue that stands out in my mind is whether or not these employees are employees of a law enforcement unit as defined by law. Marilyn Lorance will provide more detailed information as she prepares her response. It would be helpful to know who the individuals are who need certification and their respective time away from law enforcement etc... Please copy any additional information to Marilyn and perhaps a phone number for contact that she may call for clarification.
These folks are assigned as 'security' in their own special unit for the purpose of protecting Portland's water system. They are key in stopping any terrorist attack at any appoint on the entire regions regions drinking water system.
You know, of course, that Portland Fire sends firefighters to BPSST through the academy to be police officers. So whatever allows you to do that for Portland Fire I would ask you to do for Portland Water.
I hope you and Karen are well. I miss seeing both of you.....Randy"
Marilyn Lorance, DPSST Standards and Certification manager, has prepared the attached interoffice memorandum in response to your inquiry regarding the Water Bureau's need to have police officers working to protect the assets of the city. Please review the memorandum and contact my office or Marilyn Lorance directly if you or staff have additional questions. It appears the City of Portland may need to draft an ordinance to designate the water bureau, or section thereof, a 'law enforcement unit'.
I hope this is of assistance and please feel free to contact me directly if I can be of assistance.
"Thank you, John.
I have directed water bureau staff to prepare and ordinance as you have recommended.
I appreciate your help…..Randy"