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What Happened to James Chasse: Union: May the force be with you

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Union: May the force be with you

from the Portland Tribune

For those who missed it, last Tuesday’s Portland Tribune featured a scoop listing the Portland Police Bureau’s most frequent users of force. Well, this week those officers named in the article will receive $10 Starbucks gift certificates from Robert King, head of the Portland Police Association.

King said that thanks to the recent controversial in-custody death of James Chasse Jr., as well as a report on racial profiling and now the Tribune article, his union members have been victims of a “media frenzy” that unfairly portrays them.

“I want them to keep their chins up and keep taking care of business,” he said. “It’s an honorable profession and the people need us, no matter what they read in the paper or hear politicians say.”
Sheriff keeps his promises

Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto spent last Thursday saying there’s no truth to District Attorney Michael Schrunk’s report accusing him of mismanagement and being too cozy with the employees’ unions he oversees.

But the perception of coziness has dogged him since he ran for the job.

In 2002, Willamette Week recounted a videotape of what he said in a union meeting where he asked corrections deputies for their endorsement. He said, “Let me tell you my priorities: Families, jobs, service to the public — in that order.”
The numbers game

Schrunk’s report accused Giusto of playing games with budget numbers — but is he the only sheriff doing so?

The report blamed Giusto for jail costs of $157 per inmate per day, compared to $89 in Washington County jails. But after the report came out, Washington County Sheriff Rob Gordon sent an e-mail to The Oregonian saying his costs actually were “closer to $117 a day” — in other words, Giusto wasn’t doing so bad.

But Schrunk’s top deputy, John Bradley, said the $89 figure was based on a rigorous formula that was validated by Gordon’s top jail manager, who estimated $80 to $90 per day.

It gets weirder: Last year, Gordon released a public report saying his costs were just $57 a day. And in May 2006, Gordon wrote a letter to citizens saying he’d turned down Giusto’s offer to rent beds at $95 a day, because if a jail expansion under consideration goes through, he could house inmates at “less than $30 per day per bed.”

Asked to explain, Gordon told Sources Say his earlier math “could be misinterpreted” and that his office has taken steps to correct it.

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