PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Jami Resch was officially introduced as the new chief of the Portland Police Bureau, culminating a rise through the ranks that began on a whim in 1999.
The graduate of Beaverton High School said she was planning to be a doctor “but that didn’t work out.” So when PPB began a push for new recruits more than 20 years ago, she decided to apply “just to see if I could do it.”
“I had never been on a ridealong, never shot a gun, never did anything related to police work,” she said, “but when I was hired and went through training I loved it.”
She got hired and worked her way up, most recently as Deputy Chief under Danielle Outlaw, who left at the end of 2019 for the police commissioner’s job in Philadelphia.
Mayor Ted Wheeler said the choice to pick her as the new chief was easy. In his opening statement, he said “She knows my priorities and my agenda.”
“There’s a lot going on right now with the police bureau,” the mayor said later, citing ongoing budget discussions, interactions with the Department of Justice and new contract negotiations with the police union.
“I’ve had my eye on Chief Resch for quite some time,” he said. “I already trusted her and that’s why I made the decision.”
Daryl Turner, the head of the Portland Police Association, gives the new chief high marks.
“The best thing is, she gets it. She knows what it’s like as rank-and-file officers,” Turner said.
Resch, 45, thanked a number of people who helped her through the years and was especially thankful for a number of anonymous letters of support and congratulations she received after her appointment was announced last week.
She said “staffing remains at a critical level and we do anticipate more retirements,” but the new hires the bureau is making are “excellent, qualified people.”
Over the past few years Portland has had street demonstrations that have escalated and drawn national attention. Resch said PPB will use “every resource available” and will reach out for help during 2020, “which is an election year and we anticipate demonstrations.”
“You’ll see more collaboration in the approach with different agencies,” Resch said.
She praised Outlaw for many things she “did exceptionally well.” But she noted she’s been on the police force for “21 years in February” so she has a number of relationships already built up over time in the community.
Resch described herself as “excited” for this job and said, “I have 5 years left and I would love to spend every last minute standing right here in this position.”
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