Police redistricting plan raises ire of Madison South residents

They’re not concerned about how district resources are shifted around – but these neighbors say they’ll fight to stay part of East Precinct. You might want to attend this January 15 meeting, too …

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs says Madison South has a “model relationship” with the precinct.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In an effort to improve police response times and improve service, Portland Police Bureau’s chief, Rosie Sizer, has put together a committee to look at redistricting within police precincts, and changing some precinct boundaries.

And, when one looks at a map illustrating police precinct boundary lines, one might well wonder why the Hollywood community is actually in East Precinct. Most East Precinct neighborhoods are along 82nd Avenue of Roses, and eastward to the Gresham city line.

Examining culture and demographics
We talked with Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander Michael Crebs, to better understand this effort.

“They put together a committee to examine the culture and demographics in the city,” Crebs told us. “We’ve found that some district [patrol areas within a precinct] officers were really busy. Officers are running from call, to call, to call. This means a slower response time within their area.”

Other districts, Crebs added, have lower calls for service. “The idea is to move some district boundaries to allow for faster response time, and allow officers more time for neighborhood crime problem-solving.”

Ruth Hander, Chair of the Madison South Neighborhood Association, organized East Precinct’s “Ice Cream Cops” outreach program this summer with Sergeant (now Lieutenant) Timothy Sessions.

Says Madison South should stay in East Precinct
The Madison South neighborhood lies along the western edge of NE 82nd Avenue of Roses, north of Montavilla. Along with the Hollywood area, Sizer’s committee has indicated they might be moved into the jurisdiction of Northeast Precinct.

“A lot of us don’t like this idea,” Ruth Hander, Chair of the  Madison South Neighborhood Association, told us when we talked with her. “We’re physically closer to East Precinct and have a high degree of involvement with the precinct, its officers, and its commander.”

Hander pointed that East Precinct’s Block Captain Coordinator is a Madison South resident. “I’m one of East Precinct’s ‘trunk ladies’. We volunteer to restock the trunks of the precinct’s patrol cars, making sure they have all necessary supplies at all times.”

Additionally, Hander pointed out that members from her neighborhood have gone before the Portland City Council to advocate for funding, and they take an active part in outreach programs.

“If they’re looking for a model of ‘community policing’, you won’t find this concept more strongly than right here,” Hander added. “We don’t have that many calls – I think, about 4% [of the precinct’s call load]. Why change it? We’re very much connected with East Precinct.”

Calls it a ‘model relationship’
Commander Crebs said that his officers have a great relationship with the citizens of the Hollywood area.

But, he agreed with Hander’s assessment of police relations between East Precinct and Madison South, adding, “We have a model relationship with this neighborhood. Between the officers and the citizens, there is none better.”

Here’s a look at the northern portion of East Precinct’s territory. PPB graphic enhanced by EastPDXnews.com

Precinct redistricting meetings
There are several upcoming opportunities to view proposed boundary changes, learn about redistricting recommendations, and provide feedback.

East Precinct (First of two)
Jan. 15, 2008 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Banfield Corporate Office, 8000 NE Tillamook
Information: 503-823-4800

Southeast Precinct
Jan. 22, 2008 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
SE Precinct Community Room
4735 E. Burnside
Information: 503-823-2143

East Precinct (Second of two)
Feb. 26, 2008 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Banfield Corporate Office
8000 NE Tillamook
Information: 503-823-4800

“Come and let your voice by heard by the Chief of Police,” Crebs said. “This process will change the precinct. If you live in Hollywood or Madison South, come let your voice be heard. Chief Sizer needs good input to be able to make the best decision on behalf of the citizens.”

Hander added, “If you want to keep the great officers you see right now, come to the meeting and speak up.”

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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