Portland Police Bureau officers to wear 3-digit numbers as identifiers during protests

Oct 17, 2020

The Portland Police Bureau Friday evening announced it will begin assigning its officers three-digit numbers to be prominently displayed on helmets during demonstrations and other crowd management events.

Currently, the bureau has assigned officers lengthier personnel numbers to wear during protests and other events instead of name tags due to people releasing personal information about officers such as addresses or phone numbers, also known as doxxing.

“There have been concerns about the safety of officers and their families because of doxxing-related threats,” the police bureau wrote in a statement.

But, the bureau said, people have reported the lengthier numbers are difficult to see and to remember, especially as many demonstrations take place at night.

“We support peaceful protest and understand that reforms to advance racial justice are necessary and overdue,” Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said in a statement. “We also want the public to be able to easily identify officers if they have concerns.”

The Portland Police Bureau said the stenciled helmets will be completed by Nov. 15.

The bureau said it will eventually also provide officers with a badge with their three-digit number, along with the helmets, to use during demonstrations and other events.

“Being a police officer is hard and hazardous work on a good day, and Portland’s police officers have been responding to protests, demonstrations, and other incidents for over several months. I want to thank each and every member of the Portland Police Bureau for the effort they put into serving this community this year,” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said in a statement. “I also want to thank the Bureau for responding to community concerns about officer identification and use of force.”

Outside of crowd management events, the police bureau said it is also shifting to officers last names being embroidered on their uniforms rather than the current metal name tags officers wear that some say are too small and challenging to read.

The police bureau also announced Friday that it has assigned five of its officers to alternative duties outside of crowd management while they are under investigations, “based upon concerns reported by members of the public.” The bureau did not release the names of those officers.

“The vast majority of police response meets or exceeds our standards, but there are times when we fall short,” Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement. “This is why we have a process to review, gather information and assess if the actions were within or outside of policy and from there identify what appropriate intervention is needed, such as counseling, remedial training or discipline.”

“We have heard the concerns from many community members and are working on solutions to address them. We continue to assess our policies and practices as well as identify where we can improve and grow to meet our community’s expectations and enhance our service.”

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