Portland Police Assoc. president: Weekend calls highlight dangers and unpredictability of police work

Mike Benner (KGW)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — Debris was scattered all over the northwest corner of Northeast Sandy Boulevard and Prescott Street on Monday morning. Much to the shock of neighbors, it was evidence of what happened just hours earlier.

“It’s quiet,” neighbor Tim Leitch said. “Quiet neighborhood for the most part.”

Not on Sunday night, though.

Police say around 11:15 p.m., a drunk driver slammed into a Portland police cruiser that then crashed into a utility pole. KGW is told as police investigated the crash, a second drunk driver intentionally drove into a crowd of officers and bystanders. One officer was hit. Others used a taser to get the driver under control.

Portland Police Bureau

“I didn’t hear any of that,” Leitch said. “Damn that’s harsh. I couldn’t dream of something like that.”

On Saturday night, near Northeast 92nd Avenue and Halsey Street, Portland police officers found themselves in another volatile situation. During a traffic stop, investigators say, a man and woman jumped out of a car and as they ran off one of them shot at officers. One of the bullets hit the side mirror of a police cruiser.

“It’s hard to see these things happening,” Sgt. Aaron Schmautz said. “I’m definitely worried about my officers.”

Sgt. Schmautz is the president of the Portland Police Association. He said the Saturday and Sunday night calls highlight the unpredictability of daily police work.

“It’s an odd time right now,” he said. “It’s a dangerous time but I think it’s important people understand the sacrifices that law enforcement officers make every day to keep them safe.”

“I’d be scared for them,” Leitch added. “It’s hard enough to be under that pressure all the time when you’re in uniform.”

Count Leitch among those who empathize with officers. He is relieved they escaped serious injury over the weekend. He is hoping for calmer days ahead.

“There are some harsh times here and I don’t know why,” Leitch said. “I don’t know why people are at such a boiling point.”

One of the drivers involved in the incident Sunday night was cited for DUII and reckless driving. The other was jailed on a number of charges. Officers have not yet captured the people involved in the shooting Saturday night. If you have any information about that case you are urged to contact the Portland Police Bureau. You may be eligible for a $2,500 reward from Crime Stoppers.

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