Bend Police Chief Jim Porter has announced he plans to retire in April after 42 years in law enforcement.
Porter, promoted to Bend’s top cop in April 2014, made the somewhat surprising announcement during a city council afternoon work session Wednesday.
In a text message to Central Oregon Daily, Porter said the department is in a great place right now and he has a stable of well-qualified supervisors. He said after 42 years, “it’s time.”
He started his law enforcement career in 1983 serving with the Crook County Sheriff’s Department and Brookings Police Department. He joined the Bend PD in 1991, serving as a captain for the investigations unit, support services and the training division.
He has served as a patrolman, narcotics detective, patrol sergeant, traffic team sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and served on the regional SWAT team for 16 years. He has supervised both the multi-agency Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team and the Central Oregon regional SWAT team.
Bend Mayor Sally Russell says he’ll be missed.
“Chief Porter was a joy to work with. I respect him in so many ways,” she said Thursday afternoon. “Very kind. Very professional and innovative with the techniques that he brought to our police force. We are incredibly fortunate to have had him in a leadership position.”
Porter says employee satisfaction is at an all-time high which results in very good service to the community. Last year Bend Police received national recognition for officer wellness programs. Porter says he receives a steady stream of requests to share how his department operates.
He was traveling on Thursday and unavailable for comment, but he has told Central Oregon Daily he’s proud of the community’s satisfaction with the agency.
“Upper 80 percent of people in Bend trust us to do the right thing. That’s important. It comes from the hiring we do,” he said. “The fiscal support we get to hire the right kinds of people and to have these programs in place.”
Porter told the city council to not worry about much changing after he retires. He said the police department’s culture of service and compassion will continue through the eight lieutenants and three captains he promoted from within during his time in charge.
He’s also had the opportunity to see one of his own daughters join the force as an officer.
Russell said she’s excited to see where the department goes from here.
“The city goes through a careful search and vetting process. Likely do a national search and consider internal candidates,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll get someone into this position soon.”