Portland Police Officer Receives National Award

The Justice Department announced today that a Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officer has been selected to receive the Attorney’s General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing.

Officer Kristen Schmidt, of PPB’s North Precinct, is one of 18 law enforcement officers and deputies receiving the award from 12 jurisdictions across the country. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the award recipients in Atlanta today.

“The work of law enforcement has always been difficult—but perhaps no more so than in the recent past, as officers have faced a host of significant challenges. The officers and deputies receiving this year’s awards demonstrate how so many go above and beyond, even in the midst of trying circumstances,” the Attorney General said. “Every day, thousands of people who work in law enforcement forge and maintain strong community ties that are essential for ensuring public safety. The recipients of this award represent quintessential examples of such critical efforts. It is an honor to recognize them.”

“On behalf of everyone at the U.S. Attorney’s Office here in Oregon, we offer our heartfelt congratulations to Officer Kristen Schmidt on her receiving this most distinguished commendation,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug. “The compassion and care she showed in one valued community member’s time of greatest need was exceptional and will serve as a model for officers and deputies throughout the state. We are very grateful for the person and officer Kristen Schmidt is and thank her for her exemplary service.”

Officer Schmidt is being recognized for her work on PPB’s Enhanced Crisis Intervention Team. Recently, she responded to a call from the Oregon Human Society where a woman trying to recover her cats from a shelter had become belligerent. Responding officers did not know the woman was experiencing an extended period of psychosis and that the sudden appearance of several uniformed officers as well as an ambulance would exacerbate the woman’s condition.

To calm the situation, Officer Schmidt sat with the woman and calmly explained the need for her to go to the hospital. When the woman refused to sit on a gurney and enter an ambulance, Officer Schmidt drove the woman to the hospital herself. The woman later reported that she and Officer Schmidt talked while driving to the hospital and that Officer Schmidt treated her with “dignity and respect and looked for ways to connect.” Officer Schmidt kept in close contact with the woman during her three-week hospitalization, picked the woman up when she was released from the hospital, and drove her to retrieve her dog from the shelter.

One year later, the woman met Officer Schmidt at PPB’s North Precinct to express her gratitude and share how differently she felt the day of her hospitalization could have gone had it not been Officer Schmidt who responded. The woman described Officer Schmidt as a powerful role model for sensitive and compassionate police work for people in vulnerable situations.

The Attorney General’s Award recognizes individual state, local, Tribal, and territorial police officers, deputies, and troopers for exceptional efforts in community policing. The awarded officers and deputies have demonstrated active engagement with the community in one of three areas: innovations in community policing, criminal investigations, or field operations.

The Department of Justice works closely with national law enforcement stakeholder groups during the award review period, taking advantage of their expertise and experience to determine the recipients in a competitive nomination process. The Department also works closely with its components, utilizing the breadth of knowledge within the Department to ensure a successful program that honors the exceptional service of our nation’s law enforcement officers and deputies. 

For more information on the Fifth Annual Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Community Policing, please visit https://www.justice.gov/ag/policing-award.

Source: U.S. Attorney for Oregon

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