PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — One last time before he retires, Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Reese walked the beat in downtown Portland on Christmas Eve.
Reese has been chief for four years but has served in law enforcement for 25 years.
“It has been a very humbling experience being the Chief of Police in Portland and I’m thankful for some of the things we’ve been able to accomplish,” he said, while walking around Pioneer Courthouse Square.
“Forty-two percent of our new hires in the last four years have been women or people of color and it’s changing the face of the Portland Police Bureau,” said Chief Reese.
Portland officers have been criticized for excessive force, as recently as last month’s protests over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white officer for killing a black, unarmed man in Ferguson, Missouri.
The chief said officers are working daily to earn people’s confidence. “Community trust is a perishable commodity and it’s something police have to work on every single day.”
Reese said the PPB’s redesigned vehicles, uniforms and Twitter handle reflect the officers new attitudes, too.
“We have very dedicated public servants here who go out and do a dangerous job every day with a lot of courage,” said Reese.
In October, Mayor Charlie Hales named Assistant Police Chief Larry O’Dea as the city’s next chief. Reese announced his retirement at the same time and said he plans to spend it participating in triathlons, sailing and making more music. He didn’t rule out working in Portland again, just without the uniform he has worn for so many years.
“The commitment to serve the community – it’s something I’m really going to miss,” said the Chief. “As a police officer, you do great good in our community.”
As for incoming Chief O’Dea, he’s been with the PPB for 28 years. The mayor selected him without a formal interview process and said he’s confident O’Dea, who will officially take over January 2, is the best person to succeed Reese.