HERE'S A HOT TICKET: Police Chief Mike Reese's band is slated to play the annual Portland police union picnic in Oaks Park this weekend. That's right, Chief Reese is in a band. He plays guitar. Commissioner Randy Leonard sang with them once, wearing a Hawaiian shirt. It sounds like I'm making this up. I'm not.
When the Portland Police Association sits down to consume its Fritos and Schnitzelwiches this Saturday, the picnic tables will host an entirely different lineup than last year. Since April, the police chief, police commissioner, two assistant chiefs, the director of professional services, and the police union president have all been booted. The police spokesperson has changed, too, with Detective Mary Wheat happily heading to the cold case division, handing over her one-person job to two people who can hopefully handle the demands of a Twitter feed and future vice-president sex poodle attacks.
With all the old guard out, this would be the time to bring in some new community-minded leaders, right? Some people who can provide fresh perspective for the peacekeeping mission Chief Reese promised the police would carry out when Mayor Adams appointed him to the top job in April.
There was a sign of hope when the assistant chief position in charge of the cop's internal affairs was transformed into a civilian job, offering a rare chance for an outsider to jump to the top of the bureau without spending years climbing through the ranks.
Alas. In July, I broke the news on Blogtown that Chief Reese had hired for the job none other than Mike Kuykendall from the Portland Business Alliance.
How does Reese know Kuykendall so well? They're bandmates.
Now the bass guitarist who at one time fought against homeless and community groups by defending the sit-lie ordinance will be in charge of overseeing the process of citizen complaints against police.
Police oversight critics haven't taken the news of Reese hiring his bandmate lightly. The Albina Ministerial Alliance, who'd hoped the civilian job would bring some diversity to the force, called it a "slap in the face." Rather than these shakeups leading to real change, says leader Jo Ann Bowman, "I think we are returning to a good-old-boy network with new players, with a bit more polish but the same old song."
Oh, and what's the name of the good-old-boy band? The Usual Suspects.