From: THOMAS BRENNAN [mailto:PRIVATE@msn.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 21, 2009 2:57 PM
To: Reese, Mike; Commissioner Saltzman; Westerman, Scott; Leonard, Randy; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Auditor, IPR Mail; PRIVATE@comcast.net
Subject: Dereliction of Duty
Let me start off by saying that as a father of a 12 year old boy, and a Police Officer with 16 years street experience, that the use of force used by Officer Chris Humphreys was more than justified.
We seem to be continually asking how can an Officer bean-bag a 12 year old girl, when we should be asking how can a 12 year old girl already be excluded from mass transit, be out at almost midnight without a parent present, be coming back from an alleged gang party, and most importantly believe that it is appropriate to attack a uniformed Police Officer. If Greg Oden has shown us nothing else, it should be that you can not judge the age of a person by how old they look. Without first checking his birth certificate, most people would guess that Mr. Oden was in his late thirties!!
My real reason for writing you this E-Mail is my belief that Portland Police Bureau Command Staff were derelict in their duties by allowing Humphries, and Sergeant [Kyle] Nice to remain on the street over the past several months. If Bureau leaders had of used due diligence, and even the slightest amount of common sense, both of these Officers would have been reassigned to a lower profile assignment (Neighborhood Response Team, Training, Criminal Intelligence Unit, ETC) months ago, and this latest media debacle would have been avoided. One of the primary jobs of competent leaders is to put their people in positions to succeed, not into no win situations where there is such a high possibility of failure.
It should have been made clear to them and the public that their reassignment was no how punitive in nature, rather an opportunity to be away from the DAILY stress they faced in their current assignments. Both Nice and Humphreys assignments required them to constantly contact unreasonable, drunk, homeless, mentally challenged, and uncooperative citizens; often in a confrontational setting. Just last week, Sergeant Nice was put in charge of a crowd control detail at the Keller Auditorium, which was responsible for dealing with a large, potentially hostile crowd (Al Gore conference). Am I the only one that sees the potential for disaster in this equation?
Needless to say both of these decorated officers would have been reluctant to leave their current assignments, just like a football player does not want to leave the game after being injured, or a soldier does not want to leave his unit after being wounded. In both of thier cases, I am sure they would have looked back and realized that it was the prudent decision, not only for the City of Portland and the Police Bureau, but also for them and their families.
The above reasons are why I entered the Central Precinct Commanders office on the 26th of October. I entered Commander [Mike] Reese’s office not only as 16 year police veteran, and a 25 year military serviceman; but as an officer who has been involved in multiple traumatic incidents, one of which involved having to shoot and kill a violent subject in 2000. At first I was reluctant to enter his office, but after consulting with my wife, I came to the conclusion that it would be remiss of me as a Portland Police Officer to not make my beliefs known to not only Commander Reese, but the Officers assigned over him.
While meeting with Reese, I told him why I thought a change of assignment was necessary. I pleaded to him that we “should fix the potential problem, before we have to fix the blame”. I spent approximately 10 minutes explaining to Reese about the constant negative media barrage that had taken place over the weeks prior to our meeting, and I assured him the barrage would only increase as civil trial date got closer. I am not a psychologist, but as someone who was under similar pressure once, I assured him that the stress they were under would almost push almost any man to the brink. I even provided him with details of a specific incident, in which I thought Sergeant Nice grossly overacted on a routine call for service; which required me to step in to prevent the situation from escalating into a use of force scenario; one of which I wanted no part of.
After speaking with Reese, he assured me that there was no problem with any of the “three officers involved”. He went on to add that he and the “Chiefs Office” were constantly monitoring the “oil levels of all three involved officers”, and that there was no need for concern on my part. I told Commander Reese directly that if the “Oil levels” were in fact fine, I would not have been sitting in his office. Before leaving, he asked for the call information I spoke to him about involving Sergeant Nice, and I provided it to him. My last thought to Commander Reese as I was leaving his office, was that even the most minor of incident involving these officers, had the potential for becoming a major media circus. As most officers are aware, it is not what an officer does, but who the officer is who does it that matters.
If the past few years during the [Rosie] Sizer tenure are any indicator, I fully anticipate retaliation for my raising these concerns; but I fully believe I must do what is right in this situation, and that is to hold the leaders who allowed this current debacle to happen, equally as accountable as they seem to be willing to hold Officers Humphreys. In my 41 years of combined military and police service, I have never encountered such arrogant leaders, as those I have worked for the past 3 years. They are truly adept at fixing the blame for situations, but have continually missed the boat when it come to fixing problems, before fixing blame becomes necessary.
In closing, if I am to have any faith in an agency that professes to “Improving Accountability” and “Developing and Encouraging Personnel” as the core tenants of their value system, then I must ask that a complete and thorough investigation be conducted. I would now like to know who Reese informed about our conversation, and why they did nothing to date to head off future potential problems.
We will all now be left wondering that if action was taken in a timely manor to the concerns that I presented on the 26th of October, would Humphreys and his family be going through the hell they are currently?
Officer Thomas J. Brennan
Portland Police Bureau
To: PRIVATE@msn.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, IPR@ci.portland.or.us, PRIVATE@comcast.net
Cc: RSizer@portlandpolice.org, Bmartinek@portlandpolice.org, MWheat@portlandpolice.org
Sent:Mon Nov 23 05:51:51 UTC 2009
Subject: RE: Dereliction of Duty
I would be happy to discuss this email from Officer Brennan with any of you, in an appropriate setting. Officer Brennan met with me on October 26th, to share his concerns about Sgt. Nice and a specific call that Officer Brennan, Sergeant Nice and another officer handled. This incident was thoroughly investigated, at my direction, by Lt. Ron Alexander.
I also discussed this incident and Officer Brennan’s concerns about Sergeant Nice with Assistant Chief [Brian] Martinek. Officer Brennan and I did not discuss Officer Humphrey or any other officer involved in the Chasse incident, and Officer Humphrey’s does not work for me.