Portland police backlog leaves crash victims in limbo

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A snag in the Portland Police Bureau’s records division is hurting some traffic crash victims in Portland. Many are left waiting for months to get a police report so they can settle insurance claims, leaving them in limbo.

Attorney Mark Ginsberg of Berkshire Ginsberg LLC told KOIN 6 News that the wait time has gone from two weeks to as much as six months, and it’s hurting his clients who want to move on with their lives.

Attorney Mark Ginsberg of Berkshire Ginsberg LLC in Portland, April 25, 2016 (KOIN)

“I have clients that are frustrated, I have clients who aren’t getting the medical care they need, who don’t have the information about the person who hurt them; That’s scary to them, that’s frightening to them,” Ginsberg said. “When it was 10 days, 2 weeks it was reasonable. Six months is not reasonable.”

Ginsberg has 5 clients still mired by the daunting backlog that he says began stacking up more than a year ago, a bottleneck police say they’re working to fix. A statement on the city’s website blames the delay on limited staffing, increased workload, financial restrictions, and the new Records Management System and admits “The processing time may take up to 16 weeks from when a public records request is received.”

Attorney Mark Ginsberg holds a picture of an accident scene in Portland, April 25, 2016 (KOIN)

“The records division is well aware of the challenges,” PPB Sgt. Pete Simpson said. “It’s certainly well aware of the complaints from people in the community and is working very hard to address that through getting more staff and being able to get reports out to people quicker when they request them.”

Simpson said the bureau is hoping to add staff to the records division in the next budget cycle. But Ginsberg thinks it’ll still be at least six months before that happens. He told KOIN 6 News the current wait for police records is the worst he’s seen in his 21 years of practice, and wonders how the situation became so bad, so quickly.

“It’s not a surprise.It didn’t go from 10 days to 6 months overnight. It was a gradual change that no one was minding the store; No one was paying attention, and now its a real real problem.”

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