By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Bend Police Chief Jim Porter announced his plan to retire in January.
He was scheduled to be done this Friday, but he’s agreed to stay on through June to help guide the police department through the COVID-19 situation.
“My wife supports what I’m doing. She’s a registered nurse at the hospital,” said Porter. “We’ve both been in public service for so long. Caring for people is part of our job, it’s just something that’s ingrained in us. I’ve been in the uniform since I was 18 years old. It’s just something that comes natural and when somebody needs help, you stick around.”
The recruitment of candidates to replace Bend’s top cop remains on schedule.
Thus far, 28 people have applied for the police chief’s position which pays between $120,000 and $160,000 annually.
Bend City Manager Eric King says the chief’s decision to stay on duty gives the city a little more time for recruiting, interviewing and selecting finalists.
“Our hope is to conduct an initial screening of applications later this month. Then we’ll do some virtual interviews and hope to have onsite interviews in late May or early June,” King said.
It also gives Porter an opportunity to create new standards for safe officer interactions with the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have such a strong culture of service here we have to pull the officers back from responding at full speed to everything. Get them to understand they need to stop and protect yourself before you can protect others,” Porter said.
Porter says after he finally retires at the end of June he will have served more than 42 years in law enforcement. After that he says he plans to go into some kind of education work.
The City of Bend is accepting applications for the police chief’s position through April 17.