PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After 20 years with the Portland Police Bureau, Assistant Chief Ryan Lee will be ending his tenure Thursday.
Lee was selected to become the new chief of the Boise Police Department in March. On Tuesday, the Boise City Council confirmed the appointment of Lee as the city’s next top cop and He will begin the role July 1.
The move for Lee comes as his soon-to-be former employer embarks on a series of major changes in response to its relationship with communities of color. Like the Portland Police Bureau, the status of dozens of policing agencies across the nation are in jeopardy. Demonstrations and protests in major U.S. cities have continued on a daily basis following the murder of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
“The senseless murder of a man in Minneapolis had repercussions to the police profession around the world,” Lee said. He added that he was horrified about how Floyd was killed and that more thorough police training is needed nationwide. In some cases, officers go through only two weeks of training.
“If we want to have a higher standard of policing, we need a standard,” he said.
But as Lee sees it, policing is just a piece of a much larger problem in regards to how a community interacts with law enforcement.
“I think we need to recognize that policing is just a small component of the criminal justice system,” he said. “If we recognize [that] it’s an inescapable truth that addiction and poverty are often disproportionately played out in communities of color, what are we doing to help those communities?”
Lee most recently served as the PPB Services Branch Chief where he oversaw training, personnel, fiscal services, strategic services, records, information and technology and the regional public safety records management system, according to PPB.
Lee first joined the bureau in September of 2000 as a patrol officer before being promoted to Sergeant in 2007. In 2015 he was promoted to Lieutenant and two years later served as Acting Captain of PPB’s Central Precinct.
In addition to his work for PBB, he helped instruct ethics at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST).