In last week's cover story ("The Blue Wall," June 24, 2020), WW reported on the Portland Police Association's history of thwarting attempts to reform the city's police force. The longest continually operating police union in the country, the PPA almost always wins in arbitration when officers are disciplined for shooting people—only one Portland police officer has ever faced criminal indictment for a shooting. City commissioners and criminal justice advocates say PPA, over the course of its 80-year history, has outmaneuvered efforts to reform police and hold officers accountable. Here's what our readers had to say:
@todayisFirstday via Twitter: "In no way should firing officers who kill people be part of collective bargaining."
Steve Tait via Facebook: "The [Portland] Police Association is the only union I can think of, at the moment, that acts like the old-fashioned Teamsters Union under Jimmy Hoffa. I've been a huge union supporter since the age of 10, when I marched on a picket line with my mother. These police don't have a union. They have a mob organization 'protecting' them."
Michael L. Pollock via Facebook: "That is why we will be forced to disband and rebuild without the Association being involved. We must be able to hold our police accountable for their actions like every other citizen."
Gib Llort via wweek.com: "We need to take a hard look at all the public employee unions, including teachers."
@Rowzdo via Twitter: "Police unions exist primarily to shield the violent arm of the state from responsibility for their violent actions. When nurses and teachers unions start going to bat for violent and abusive nurses and teachers, I'll be right on board with you."
Derek Johnson via Facebook: "We just hate cops specifically, not unions."
Chris Schoeffel via Facebook: "Police have no right to strike so shouldn't be able to unionize."
Michael Brand via wweek.com: "If I had to take a guess, the police unions will maneuver any reform package to apply to all public employee unions, at which point the teachers will kill the bill. Seen it happen before in other states."
Floyd E. Holcom via Facebook: "Bring back the horse cops."