BEND, OR -- The results of a community survey evaluating Bend Police are in, and it shows the majority of residents believe the department is doing a good job. Although, Chief Jim Porter says there were concerns, "The downtown area is a concern, traffic is a concern, there's a perception out of there of an increase in violent crimes and in property crimes."
Porter isn't surprised to see traffic on the list. He recently expanded the traffic patrol to six members. "Now, we're going to start focusing them on areas that we believe are important - the reduction of crashes, the interdiction and arrest of drunk drivers." He says the traffic patrol will focus on the three 'E's of traffic: Enforcement, Education and Engineering. "Our struggle right now is that Bend's a growing city. Our piece is going to be conducting special enforcement details twice a month to bring people's perception of danger down, and their perception of the quality of service they're getting from the police department to reduce traffic issues, up."
Another major issue listed by survey respondents is homelessness. Chief Porter believes three new positions would have a major impact, "The first position we've asked for is a liaison with the homeless community, for homeless who are having issues, and to align them with needed services. This is a significant problem in the downtown area." Porter also wants additional resource officers for COCC and Bend La Pine Schools, who would patrol downtown during the summer.
Bend Police Asks Public to Weigh-In on Priorities (02/27/2019)
Porter tells KBND News statewide stats show Bend is the safest city over 60,000 people, and it's well below national crime averages. But, he acknowledges not every resident feels safe, "We're trying to align this perception that there's increasing crime with what we know to be documented data that says the opposite direction. So, that means we need to do a better job in the police department of actually advertising or getting out there and letting the public know what's going on." Survey results will be presented to city leaders during the budgeting process, to justify spending requests by the department. Click HERE to view the full report compiled by Portland State University researchers.