Portland's new police chief lays out problems and "to-do" list - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland's new police chief lays out problems and "to-do" list

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Chief Marshman (KPTV) Chief Marshman (KPTV)

After 25 years in the Portland Police Bureau, Mike Marshman was thrust into the role of the city’s top cop on Monday. Now, we’re getting to know more about Portland’s new police chief in his first one-on-one interview with FOX 12.

At Central Precinct Tuesday, Marshman sat behind a long conference table on his first official day wearing the chief’s badge. He was calm and focused while also acknowledging the upheaval in the bureau over the last two days.

“It’s starting to sink in. It’s just a lot of moving pieces to a complex organization.”

Marshman admits, he has a long “to-do” list as the new chief.

“Right out of the gate, I want to establish some stability within the organization because it’s been questions and unknowns for a while,” said Marshman. “And I don’t think that’s healthy for any organization, let alone a police bureau.”

It’s been a shaky few weeks for the bureau after former Chief Larry O’Dea was put on leave because of a shooting in Harney County. O’Dea was firing at squirrels with friends when his long-time friend Robert Dempsey got shot. Early reports show O’Dea told investigators Dempsey accidentally shot himself, but Dempsey later told cops O’Dea did it. O’Dea and Mayor Charlie Hales didn’t alert the public until a month later.

Chief Marshman said O’Dea never told him details about what happened and he’s holding off on judgment for now.

“It’s an investigation that’s ongoing and started obviously prior to me being chief. So I’m waiting for the parties investigating it to finish their work.”

Most recently, Marshman has been working to make improvements ordered by the Department of Justice – namely use of force training, community engagement and accountability. Marshman said those efforts must continue.

“We essentially have to show outside sources that we can hold our own – up and down the ranks – accountable and fairly. And be transparent about that.

But despite the bureau’s problems, Marshman said he’s very proud of the men and women he’s been chosen to lead.

“The folks doing the work with the public here, they are doing an exceptional job.”

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