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Nope! Oregon sheriffs rebuke and reject Gov. Kate Brown’s request for help in Portland

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Oregon sheriffs are not on board with Gov. Kate Brown’s plan to mobilize their forces and deal with the ongoing unrest in Portland.

The sheriffs of Clackamas and Washington County as well as others roundly rejected the Democrat governor’s newly announced plan “to keep the peace and protect free speech” by using their staff to help the Portland Police Bureau, saying it’s the state’s criminal justice system that needs changing.

(Image: KGW screenshot)

“Had Governor Brown discussed her plan with my office, I would have told her it’s about changing policy, not adding resources,” Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said in a statement Monday. “Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder.”

Roberts and neighboring law enforcement agencies essentially told Brown to take a hike in stinging rebukes after her request for their assistance to “bring violence and arson to an end in Portland.”

“Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder,” Roberts added, referring to the fatal shooting of a pro-Trump demonstrator and member of the local Patriot Prayer group by a self-described Antifa and Black Lives Matter supporter in Portland over the weekend.

In Brown’s announcement of her  “Unified Law Enforcement Plan,” she declared that she would “not allow Patriot Prayer & armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.”

After nearly 100 days of protests that have overwhelmed the Portland Police Bureau’s resources, Brown finally unveiled her six-point plan on Sunday, requesting the Gresham Police Department and the Sheriff’s offices in Clackamas and Washington counties to assist. She also asked for support from Oregon State Police troopers.

“With months of nightly protests stretching the Portland Police Bureau’s resources thin, additional local and state personnel, as well as federal resources, will give the Police Bureau the investigative capacity to arrest and charge those individuals who have engaged in violent or destructive acts and endangered public safety,” Brown’s announcement said.

In his statement refusing Brown’s plan, Roberts referred to the new policy by Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt who said he would not be prosecuting low-level arrests.

“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,” Roberts said. “The criminal justice system will need do its part and hold offenders accountable.”

Shortly after the statement from Roberts, Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett followed suit, explaining that his staff would support Portland Police through “indirect ways, like analyzing risks associated with social media, air support, assisting with a specific criminal investigation, etc.”

“At this time, I do not plan to send deputies to work directly in Portland,” Garrett said. “The 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.”

Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security tweeted  that the objections were “sad but understandable.”

A spokesperson for the Gresham police told The Oregonian, “We are in agreement with the other agencies.”

And in a statement released on Monday, the Oregon Association Chiefs of Police and Oregon State Sheriff’s Association said they would not dedicate “limited resources” from their own communities.

“Unfortunately, due to the lack of support for public safety operations, the associated liability to agencies who would be assisting in Portland and the lack of accountability for those arrested committing criminal acts, we cannot dedicate our limited resources away from the communities we serve,” the statement read. “We know there will already be an additional burden on local law enforcement agencies as Oregon State Police Troopers are re-assigned to assist in Portland.”

The groups added that they wanted “a strong statement” from elected leaders saying “that criminal acts are not legitimate protest and that those who commit crimes will be held accountable.”

A spokesman for the governor responded to the rejections in a statement, according to KATU, saying the 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,”  Brown spokesman Charles Boyle said.

Many on social media applauded the rebuke of Brown’s plan, calling out the governor and Portland’s Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler who have repeatedly rejected President Trump’s offers to send in federal officers.

Frieda Powers

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