Multiple Oregon sheriffs spoke out against Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Monday, slamming the Democrat for her lack of leadership in the crisis unfolding in Portland.
What's the background?
Protests have been ongoing in the so-called City of Roses for nearly 100 straight nights with escalating levels of violence. The federal government has attempted to help quell the unrest, but Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) and Brown rebuffed their efforts.
Now, with the cold-blooded murder of a Trump supporter over the weekend, the violence is a problem local and state leaders can no longer ignore.
So on Sunday, Brown released her plan to address the violence: send more law enforcement resources — from Washington and Clackamas counties and the city of Gresham — to Portland.
What did the sheriffs say?
In no uncertain terms, the sheriffs slammed the plan and said they would not send their officers to Portland.
Clackamas Sheriff Craig Roberts advised Brown that more resources will not solve the problem in Portland — only policy change can provide the desperately needed solution.
According to Roberts, Brown never contacted him about sending his deputies to Portland.
"I was surprised to read that the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office was part of the plan since the Governor's Office never contacted me," Roberts explained. "Had Governor Brown discussed her plan with my office, I would have told her it's about changing policy not adding resources. Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder. The only way to make Portland safe again, is to support a policy that holds offenders accountable for their destruction and violence."
He went on to say:
That will require the DA to charge offenders appropriately and a decision by the Multnomah County Presiding Judge not to allow offenders released on their own recognizance, and instead require bail with conditions. The same offenders are arrested night after night, only to be released by the court and not charged with a crime by the DA's Office. The next night they are back at it, endangering the lives of law enforcement and the community all over again.For all of us in law enforcement, keeping our community safe is our first priority. Had Governor Brown asked me, I would have told her that no amount of human resources will stop the "cycle of violence" (her term) that is making Portland unsafe. For that to occur, the criminal justice system will need do its part and hold offenders accountable.
Meanwhile, Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett said the anti-police message supported by progressive politicians is why his officers will remain in his jurisdiction.
"At this time, I do not plan to send deputies to work directly in Portland," he said. "[T]he lack of political support for public safety, the uncertain legal landscape, the current volatility combined with intense scrutiny on use of force presents an unacceptable risk if deputies were deployed directly."
How did Brown respond?
According to KATU-TV, the governor's office said, in part, "The Governor's plan is meant to allow for this kind of flexibility in supporting each other as we all collectively deal with the difficult situation in Portland. It is up to each county to determine the personnel and resources they have available to volunteer for this effort."