Portland cop breaks his oath; colleagues turn him in.

This isn’t just another cop-bashing piece: this is good news, for the entire Portland Police Bureau as well as the residents of Portland.

Thanks and gratitude to the Portland Police Bureau and to the PPB Police Review Board for their transparency on this case, and the others reported here; and for their decision to fire Officer Andrew Caspar.

The very best news out of this comes from one paragraph in the OregonLive story:

The firing was one of seven officer misconduct cases — five in 2019 and two in 2020 — that prompted internal investigations and were summarized in the board’s March report. Each of the cases arose from complaints made by other members of the Police Bureau.

OregonLive, March 20, 2021.

Reread the last line of that quote: Each of the cases arose from complaints made by other members of the Police Bureau.

That’s cause for celebration!

Especially given that this is the Portland Police Bureau we’re talking about.

The unnamed officers who filed those complaints dared to break ranks with their colleagues, to report the misconduct of fellow cops.

That takes a hell of a lot of integrity and guts. Those cops were true Peace Officers when they filed their complaints. They’re in the top 16 percent of their profession.

The conduct of those officers who complained is exactly what is needed throughout American law enforcement. The integrity mustered by each of those officers is the single most valuable asset that the profession has, precisely because it’s so rare.

And it’s exactly what will finally make law enforcement a true and respected profession.

I hope that Portland Police Bureau formally recognizes those unnamed officers for having the courage to do the right thing. They’re role models for the profession.

I’m glad these officers are on the public payroll, and I’m happy that my taxes can help pay their salaries. I wish them all well. And I hope that they have safe and successful careers. Oregon needs them.

A plot of a hypothetical normal distribution (or bell-shaped curve) of integrity scores among American peace officers, where each band has a width of one standard deviation.
Modified from M.W. Toews, which was based (in concept) on figure by Jeremy Kemp, on 2005-02-09. Basic graph was retrieved from Wikipedia, “Standard deviation,” on February 20, 2021.  URL:  Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Standard_deviation_diagram.svg). 

Here’s the whole story, reprinted from OregonLive.

Portland officer fired after he delayed response to welfare call, failed to pursue suspect, then blamed it on ‘Obama administration,’ report says

Updated 2:10 PM; Today 2:10 PM

Source: OregonLive/The Oregonian, March 20, 2021

By Maxine Bernstein | The Oregonian/OregonLive

A Portland police officer who deliberately delayed responding to a welfare check call in 2019 and then let the suspect walk away was fired after he misled internal investigators about what he did, according to bureau records made public this month.

The officer made a bogus remark to witnesses, telling them something like: “Due to the Obama administration,” police don’t chase known suspects, according to a summary by the Police Review Board.

The firing was one of seven officer misconduct cases — five in 2019 and two in 2020 — that prompted internal investigations and were summarized in the board’s March report. Each of the cases arose from complaints made by other members of the Police Bureau.

The Police Bureau publicly releases the board reports twice a year but doesn’t name of any of the officers involved.

In the welfare check case, sources familiar with the investigation said it was Andrew Caspar who was fired.

State records show Caspar was fired by the Police Bureau last Aug. 18 after going on leave on Aug. 28, 2019. He joined the bureau in July 1998. The Portland Police Association is challenging Caspar’s termination and has been in arbitration this past week.

The union’s executive director, retired Officer Daryl Turner, declined comment on the matter.

The internal review found that police had reasonable suspicion to contact the suspect for the alleged crime, which the report didn’t identify.

The officer told investigators that the matter “didn’t seem overly pressing” because it involved family members, and police had the name of the person who was walking away, according to the Police Review Board summary.

The board in October 2019 found that the officer violated the bureau’s truthfulness directive, acted unprofessionally and failed to perform police duties. This “eroded the trust” of those involved, the summary report said.

The officer was not honest and omitted information about the delay in responding to the call, his statements to victims and witnesses and the reason he didn’t contact, detain or arrest the suspect, the board found.

“Employee 1 omitted their statements about the Obama administration until they were specifically asked about it,” the summary said.

Caspar did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The Police Review Board is made up of peer officers, supervisors, a community member and representative of the city’s Independent Police Review oversight division.

In another case, a new trainee complained that a field training officer twice made inappropriate, racially based comments.

During the first incident, the two officers responded to a call involving a young man of color who was in crisis and began talking about demons while several white firefighters were tending to him, the report said. The field training officer remarked that the man being treated may have been reacting to the “presence of a lot of white men and that they could be the demons he was talking about,” the summary report said.

In the second incident, the field training officer told the trainee that “all white people are racist” while they were together in a police car. The comment wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, the summary said. The report didn’t identify the race of the field trainer but suggests the trainee was white.

The Police Review Board members found that the training officer “showed no prejudice” and noted that “it is helpful for white trainees to understand that people of color may react differently to them based on their past experiences, and being uncomfortable because of this comes with the territory.”

The board recommended a command debriefing with the training officer, including counseling on “how to have conversations with new officers about race that allows for growth, providing a safe space for learning.”

The board report also identified three negligent discharges of police guns.

An officer preparing for a shift was doing a “function check” of an AR-15 rifle, which discharged in the precinct armory. The officer didn’t use a clearing barrel while doing the check and didn’t insert a yellow safety block in the magazine to avoid the discharge, the report said.

The officer relinquished rifle certification and received a one-day suspension without pay on March 3, 2020, according to the report.

Two other officers also received one-day suspensions without pay for negligent discharges of their shotguns, the report said. One of the officers was preparing for a shift and failed to verify whether the shotgun had an empty chamber or an unloaded magazine tube. The report didn’t release details of the other shotgun discharge.

Due to these cases, the review board recommended an examination be done of Police Bureau armories to check if the walls conform to armory standards.

— Maxine Bernstein

Email at mbernstein@oregonian.com; 503-221-8212

From The Tumalo Lookout:

Caspar is a textbook example of a pig in a police uniform.

By his actions, his politics, and his dishonesty, he disgraced all of his colleagues at PPB, as well as his entire profession. Even more importantly, he betrayed his professional oath and ethics, as well as the trust of the public he served.

He got exactly what he asked for and exactly what he deserved.

But the real point of this story is that…

Portland Police Bureau did good!

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