August 27th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Guns and Hoses: Another Blow to Randy Leonard's Water Cops Plan

The state agency that trains cops has thrown more water on City Commissioner Randy Leonard's ongoing efforts to give greater police powers to security officers for the Portland Water Bureau.

When last we reported on the issue, Leonard was exploring using an obscure state law that lets water bureaus form special police forces. The goal is to arm the bureau's security guards and give them power to make arrests.

In a July 10 letter (PDF), water bureau administrator David Shaff sought help from the state Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to train the proposed water police force.

But the agency has turned a cold shoulder to that idea. An Aug. 10 reply (PDF) from director Eriks Gabliks says such police "are neither eligible nor required to obtain certification from DPSST."

Shaff tells WW today that the water bureau remains intent on moving forward with the plan. He says he'll ask Portland's city attorneys to convince the state Department of Justice that DPSST should train the water cops.

"We're going to have our lawyers argue with their lawyers," Shaff says. "We're sort of frustrated. Everyone agrees that you really want to train these people."
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