▶️ Bend City Mgr. calls groups’ claims against police chief hire ‘misguided’

By TED TAYLOR
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Bend City Manager Eric King is standing by his choice for police chief despite continued calls from a local organization to reconsider the decision due to Mike Krantz’s role with the Portland Police Bureau.

The Central Oregon Peacekeepers have launched an effort to oust Krantz even before he officially starts, saying in a Facebook post “Bend does not want a Chief who panics and gasses people…Bend certainly does not want a Chief who was in command of a police unit that coordinated and defended violent extremists like “Patriot Prayer.”

The group held a small rally at City Hall Wednesday afternoon to meet with the city manager, but King told the group in an email that the offices remained closed due to the pandemic and his schedule was booked.

“Furthermore, in response to the allegations that your organization posted on Facebook yesterday, there is nothing to discuss,” King wrote. “The assumptions in your post are misguided, and the incident you refer to is not tied to Mike Krantz.”

Krantz, who was hired to replace the retiring Jim Porter, is scheduled to start August 10th.

He currently serves as the bureau’s Assistant Chief of the Services Branch and is responsible for the business operations of the largest police department Oregon. His selection has been under fire due to the bureau’s use of tear gas on Black Lives Matter protestors.

“I fully support community members’ right to peacefully assemble and voice their grievances,” Krantz said in a statement to Central Oregon Daily News. “I look forward to getting started as the chief of police and getting to work in collaboration with the entire community on many important and timely issues.”

And King remains steadfast in Krantz’s ability to lead the department into the future.

“I have watched events unfolding in Portland and am concerned and in some cases outraged at what I have seen,” he wrote. “I have been very focused on ensuring that Mike Krantz represents the best of the Portland Police Bureau. Mike has been a dedicated public servant advocating for change, increased accountability and deeper community engagement.”

Eric King’s full response is below:

Central Oregon Peacekeepers,

City Hall is currently closed due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and many office employees are teleworking. My day is fully scheduled today.

Furthermore, in response to the allegations that your organization posted on Facebook yesterday, there is nothing to discuss. The assumptions in your post are misguided, and the incident you refer to is not tied to Mike Krantz.

I have watched events unfolding in Portland and am concerned and in some cases outraged at what I have seen. I have been very focused on ensuring that Mike Krantz represents the best of the Portland Police Bureau. Mike has been a dedicated public servant advocating for change, increased accountability and deeper community engagement.

More specifically to your allegations: Police in Portland and Bend and all over the country are frequently assigned to liaise with public events, regardless of the event’s content because government cannot regulate free speech. Lt. Jeff Niiya was assigned to the demonstration, which was outside the purview of supervision from Mike Krantz. The allegation that he shared inappropriate information with Patriot Prayer members was extensively investigated and found to be untrue. OPB reported on the case and this article is helpful in understanding that situation:

https://www.opb.org/news/article/portland-police-clear-officer-jeff-niiya-joey-gibson/

And here is the final investigator summary: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/ipr/article/741821

We in City leadership value and embrace working with our community but accusations such as those you posted on Facebook are not a productive method of moving forward or making positive change. I am happy to discuss a path forward and agree with many of the points you’ve raised on evaluating policies and increasing the visibility and accountability of the Police Chief’s Advisory Committee.  Just like you, I want positive change for Bend and want a Police Department that works in tandem with our community.

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