Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell announced on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, that the Portland Police Bureau will be re-instituting the Traffic Division on a limited basis, bringing back two sergeants, ten motor officers and two officers in cars to work seven days a week. They will be working a modified afternoon shift from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. These officers and sergeants will be in addition to the Major Crash Team, the Traffic Investigations Unit and a lieutenant. The shift configuration means six officers and one sergeant will be working traffic enforcement each day. On Wednesdays, both details will be working.
“In 2021, I made the difficult decision to have our traffic officers go to the precincts in order to answer 911 emergency calls for service,” said Chief Lovell. “Though we are still deeply challenged with our staffing, we have seen the rise in fatal crashes, and have heard from our community that they want and expect traffic enforcement to help keep our roadways safe for all users. In addition, our new officers have not been able to do a rotation through traffic to learn these valuable skills.”
In 2022, there were 68 total fatal crashes, the highest since 1987. Of those crashes, 32 involved pedestrians (the highest since 1948).
Traffic officers will provide the precincts support with traffic-related calls for service. They will also be prioritizing Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) detection and investigation. Traffic officers will be responding to investigate fatal and serious injury crashes and provide enforcement and education in high-crash areas, focusing on dangerous driving behaviors. They will also mentor and teach new officers traffic enforcement, education and investigation skills during their Traffic rotation.
Source: Portland Police Bureau