Law enforcement planning for Portland Election Day protests

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City leaders, law enforcement agencies collaborating on readiness

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With less than a week to go, city leaders and local law enforcement officials announced a unified plan for expected gatherings and protests around Election Day. The law enforcement agencies aren’t giving out any specifics of their plans but did say there is no known threat at this point.

“Any violence before or after the election will not be tolerated,” Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said during a press conference on Thursday. “We are stepping up visible patrols at ballot drop of location and election headquarters to ensure people feel safe.”

Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt said he knows there will be gatherings on Election Day but urged people to be safe.

“We won’t tolerate any attempts to intimidate voters,” Schmidt said. “For those who incite violence or harm, my office will hold you accountable.”

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the bureau is increasing staffing and canceling days off.

“Right now we’re working very hard to make sure we have the resources, personnel wise and infrastructure in place,” Lovell said. “We’re prepared to work together and do everything we can to ensure the election time in Portland is safe.”

Oregon State Police will also be assisting, but Superintendent Terri Davie wouldn’t say exactly how many troopers would be in the Portland area on Election Day.

Officials wouldn’t give details on which agency will handle what aspect of any protest and said it’s still being decided. For now, PPB is the lead agency.

Lovell said his officers still have to comply with Mayor Ted Wheeler’s ban on using tear gas, but other agencies don’t have such restrictions.

“That is a tool and a resource the Oregon State Police does have and depending on the circumstances or the situation it is something the state police have the ability to deploy,” Davie said.

OSP is also planning to be ready to head to other parts of the state if there is violence on election night or after.

On October 16, the Portland Police Bureau announced they and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office are working with other agencies to make sure that — regardless of the outcome of any race in the election — the city and its citizens will be safe while still being free to express their voices.

“We will have more resources available during election week, modifying schedules to have more officers on duty,” Assistant Chief Chris Davis told KOIN 6 News. “That helps.”

Earlier in October, a meeting set up by Mayor Ted Wheeler included PPB, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon State Police and representatives from Gov. Kate Brown’s office to work on a unified command plan for election night. Details of that plan were not released at the time.

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