In the wake of fatal police shootings of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana this week and Thursday's apparent retaliatory killing of five Dallas police officers, new Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman sent the following message to his bureau today:
Dear Bureau Members:
Last night as I heard the news of the horrific violence in Dallas, here in Portland we were in the midst of managing our own protest. This protest could also have turned deadly, as officers fortunately identified and arrested a man, armed with a handgun, who menaced other protestors.
At that moment, my thoughts centered on officer safety in Portland. As your chief, that is my priority, as well as the priority of every command officer. Police all across this country have been emotionally impacted by these events. Families and friends of law enforcement are now terrified about the unknowns of this job. I understand this and I am asking command to be at roll calls today to address your questions, concerns and issues. We will be reviewing plans for all events and staffing them accordingly.
I wanted to let you know I received many phone calls and emails from community members and leaders of the African-American community who want to pledge their support and emphatically denounce violence against any police officer.
As the nation reels from the events this week, in Portland we must come together. This isn't a time to give up or let a coward's actions in Dallas influence how we police our city.
During last night's protest, our local leaders played an integral role in helping maintain calm and order throughout the protest. They have assured me they will continue in this role as they work to be out in front of those who intentionally promote the divide between police and the community. My ask to you is to continue the good work you are doing in regard to community engagement. Our community needs that, wants that and those relationships will bring strength and calm to our city.
Thank you to those Bureau members who worked last night's long protest. As usual, there were people present who wanted to hijack the event for reasons unrelated to the original intent. Frontline officers and their supervisors remained professional, controlled and focused.
I know you join me in sending your thoughts and prayers to the men and women of the Dallas Police Department; mourning bands are authorized until July 15th.
Thank you for your work last night, the work you do every day and for the commitment you have made to serve and protect this city.
Marshman, Mayor Charlie Hales and several community leaders addressed this week's shootings this morning at a 10 am press conference at City Hall. The gathering followed a mostly peaceful protest last night at which one man was arrested for pulling a gun on the crowd.