Native East Portlander takes command of police precinct

See why many say that new East Precinct Commander Dave Hendrie really is the right person for the job …

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander David Hendrie says he looks forward to working with the community.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With the retirement of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) Chief Mike Reese [CLICK HERE to read about his sendoff], and the promotion downtown of East Precinct Commander Sara Westbrook [CLICK HERE to see her “exit interview”], new PPB Chief Larry O’Dea has named Dave Hendrie to be the latest East Precinct Commander.

Speaking to East Portland News in his new office after a week on the job, Hendrie said he was proud to be an outer East Portland native, having attended Floyd Light Middle School and David Douglas High School. “In many ways, for me, it was like coming back home.”

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander David Hendrie.

Hired as a PPB cop in 1993, Hendrie worked as a District Officer for several years, before joining the Gang Enforcement Team in 1996. “I’ve spent a good part of my career working with gang enforcement in the areas of north and northeast Portland.”

He became a Central Precinct sergeant, and ran the Street Crimes unit for about a year until becoming a Sergeant Detective of the Robbery Unit.

When promoted to lieutenant, Hendrie served at Southeast Precinct before it was decommissioned in 2010, and went on to become a Traffic Division Caption. “In 2013, I was transferred to East Precinct.”

After a relatively short time, he was then transferred downtown, becoming an adjutant in Chief Reese’s office. “I was the person responsible for doing fact-checking and getting information to the Chief; following up on projects; and working with the command staff to make sure that we were all in line with what needed to be done and needed to be accomplished.

“It was very beneficial to me, to see a larger view of law enforcement across the city,” Hendrie said. “In that position, I was able to realize the full scope of what goes on across our city.”

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander David Hendrie considers his “focus areas” for the precinct.

Areas of focus
Now, in his new position, in addition to overseeing the day-to-day public safety work of his officers and staff, Hendrie said there are several areas on which he wants to focus this year.

1. Increase involvement with immigrant and newcomer populations
“We have one of the largest immigrant and newcomer populations in the city. The area is more diverse than ever, with than 50 different nationality groups represented here.”

2. Gang issues that cross city boundaries
“I spent a lot of my career working gang-impacted areas. This drives many [public safety] issues in outer East Portland; the Mid-County area. I will continue to work working closely with our Gang Enforcement Team, and also with the City of Gresham, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, and Multnomah County District Attorney office, to address livability issues that don’t see any city’s boundary. We have collective responsibilities to work together. Building partnerships is very important to me.”

3. Develop increased community involvement
“I want to find a way to help East Portland residents have a voice in how they are policed. I think there is a long-standing feeling that people in mid-County area have not received the same support as those who live closer and to the heart of the city.

“I want people to feel that this is their police, and their precinct, and that they have a voice. This means, instead of having their Police Bureau telling them they know what they ‘need’, we can be more attentive, try to find those opportunities. I don’t know how that looks yet’ but I want to go meet people and where they are.”

4. Continued effort on abandoned-home livability issues
“There are people who exploit distressed properties and take advantage of vacant houses. Some do it with criminal intent; some are just looking for a place to stay out of the rain. In a way it is a larger societal issue that we’re facing.

“It’s not just the fact that a house is being occupied by a person who has no right to live there. [The presence of squatters] often creates livability issues that spill out along the street and into the neighborhood. Some [of the solution is law] enforcement, some will be services. That’s a huge hurdle.”

5. Working with homelessness and the homelessness
“When many people talk about homelessness, they think it’s a core downtown issue. But now, it has spread across the city. The Springwater Trail has his own set of challenges. We look at services and issues of homelessness The Springwater Trail has attracted a fair number of folks without homes, from Sellwood out through Brentwood-Darlington and through outer East Portland. There’ve been several camps we had to interdict because they were becoming very problematic.”

Portland Police Bureau East Precinct Commander David Hendrie spends a moment with Captain Robert King.

As he starts a new chapter in his career, Hendrie said didn’t want to end the interview without telling what he considers to be one of his greatest obligations – one not seen by the community at large.

“One of my greatest responsibilities is to ‘champion the cause’ of our police officers. This means giving them help and support that they need to have in order to do the job. In light of events, both here and nationally, it is a difficult time to be a police officer.

“My experience in East Portland is that people are incredibly supportive of our officers; I personally appreciate that. When you see a police officer, say ‘thank you’. It means more to them than you can ever imagine.”

Get in touch with East Precinct Commander David Hendrie at David.Hendrie@portlandoregon.gov, or by calling the East Precinct front desk: (503) 823-4800.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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