New Community Policing office opened in Gateway

Find out which retailer opened their arms – and some great office space – to help create a new Portland Police Bureau contact office in Northeast Portland …

After he spoke with us, radio and television stations moved in to interview PPB East Precinct Sergeant John Anderson about the new Gateway Police Contact Office.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
In 2007, the Rossi family offered a space to open a “Community Policing Office” along Sandy Boulevard – a move welcomed by Portland Police Bureau (PPB) East Precinct command staff and officers (CLICK HERE to see that story).

Since then, the Parkrose Neighborhood was shuffled into PPB’s North Precinct, and East Precinct officers longed for a northern Contact Office within their own precinct.

Fred Meyer Stores’ public affairs spokesperson, Melinda Merrill, holds one end of the “crime scene” tape used for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“We did set up an office like this in Parkrose several years ago,” commented one of the organizers of that effort, PPB East Precinct Sergeant John Anderson, on May 20, as he stood outside the Gateway Fred Meyer store.

“Back in August 2010, I was asked by managers here at the Gateway Fred Meyer if we are interested in having an office here,” Anderson told us. “I said, ‘sure, but we have no money’.”

Rather than walking away, Freddie’s managers responded, “Don’t worry about that, we will help you out – what do you want?” Anderson recounted. He went on, “Basically everything we asked for, we got – and then some. We have a nice 2,000 square-foot office with plenty of room.”

Gateway Fred Meyer Store Director Zane Mills introduces dignitaries, including PPB East Precinct Commander Bill Walker.

Melinda Merrill, public affairs spokesperson for Fred Meyer Stores, stepped up and joined the conversation. “We’ve been in the Gateway neighborhood for almost 60 years. It’s been a great neighborhood for us.”

It’s not any secret, Merrill continued, that the area could use a little extra police presence. “We are so thrilled to have them here, to help enhance the neighborhood and help people feel a little safer. We feel having a police Contact Office here will help strengthen the neighborhood.”

Fred Meyer’s Zane Mills says the new Contact Office will benefit both shoppers and the community at large.

PPB East Precinct Commander Bill Walker added that the new office provides a strategic benefit. “This area is a major transit hub, with the MAX Light Rail lines converging here with bus service; and this is a major retail area as well. Having an extra police presence here – and providing a space where citizens can walk in and speak with officers – is truly valuable.”

Just before the ribbon cutting ceremony, Sgt. Anderson reflected on the deeper meaning of opening this office. “In 30 years of law enforcement, everyone has been searching for what [the term] ‘community policing’ really means. This is a prime example of a local business helping law enforcement have a visible presence – and, in doing so, having a positive impact on the area. Hopefully people will feel safer when they come to shop, or to pass through the area.”

With a snip, Commander Walker, Manager Mills and Sgt. Anderson officially open the new Gateway Community Policing Office.

At the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon, Gateway Fred Meyer Store Director Zane Mills, proclaimed, “We’re pleased to be opening this office today.  Our Loss Prevention Manager, Fred Smart, was instrumental in getting this office here – as was [PPB East Precinct] Captain Mark Kruger, and Sergeant Jon Anderson.”

Mills continued, “We really appreciate the partnership with the Portland Police Bureau. This contact office will enhance safety – not only for the neighborhood, but also for our store and our customers – which is very exciting for all of us.”

Inside the new office, with the help Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement Crime Prevention Specialist Teri Poppino, Sgt Anderson cuts one of the delicious cakes, provided by Fred Meyer for the celebration.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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