Add Clark County Sheriff’s Office and Vancouver Police Department to list of agencies refusing to send officers to Portland riots

Even before agencies surrounding Multnomah County in Oregon announced they will no longer be sending officers to Portland, both the VPD and CCSO withdrew their support

The list of law enforcement agencies willing to offer support to the Portland Police Bureau to address rioting and violence in downtown Portland continues to dwindle. 

Even before agencies surrounding Multnomah County in Oregon announced earlier this week that they will no longer be sending officers to Portland, both the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) withdrew their support. Officials from each agency provided media statements this week that they had previously assisted with the violence in downtown 

CCSO Sheriff Chuck Atkins here
Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins

Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins told Clark County Today that he only sent officers over to Portland for five days very early in the beginning of the violent protests, which have gone on for nearly 100 consecutive days. Atkins said he did so after a verbal request from the office of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Atkins then requested a formal direct request in writing and never received one.

“After the five days, we chose not to go back anymore because we didn’t have anything officially from them,’’ Atkins said.

Atkins said that was far from the only problem. He also said the state of Oregon refused to indemnify law enforcement officers from the state of Washington so the combined liability and expense to Clark County taxpayers was too much for him to risk sending officers to Portland.

“Even at that point early on, it was obvious that it was going to be a significant expense to Clark County taxpayers,’’ said Atkins, referring to any decision to continue to send CCSO officers to Portland.

Atkins wanted to make it clear that if there was a critical emergency incident and he received a call for assistance, he would send officers to assist in a crisis situation.

“If they were to call right now and say they have a massive shooter situation in downtown Portland, we would go immediately,’’ Atkins said. “But, I’m not going to go to a planned protest event that is 90-some days going when actions aren’t being taken against the aggressors who are being arrested. I’m not putting my people in harm’s way, and I can’t put citizens of Clark County in a financial situation, without some sort of agreement with the city of Portland.’’

Vancouver Police Department

VPD Public Information Coordinator Kim Kapp told Clark County Today that Vancouver Police were sent across the river on 11 occasions, the last of which was June 16. Kapp said the reason the VPD no longer is sending officers to Portland is due to three key factors.

“Much like other regional law enforcement partners have expressed, the danger to our personnel, the associated liability combined with the apparent lack of legal consequence for people being arrested on a nightly basis make it impractical for us to send any of our personnel to Portland at this time to assist with protests or crowd management,’’ Kapp said. “Staffing the Vancouver Police Department and the safety of the residents of Vancouver is our top priority.

“Any requests for assistance from any of our regional partners will be evaluated based on our staffing needs as well as the type of assistance being requested,’’ Kapp said. “The Vancouver Police Department has no current or future plans to send our personnel to Portland to assist with the nightly protesting that is occurring there.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown

On Sunday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced a plan to mobilize area law enforcement agencies to assist in the Portland violence. Gresham Police Chief Robin Sells, Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett and Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts are among those law enforcement leaders who immediately announced that they had no intention to participate in Brown’s plan.