Not content with crashing one of their police vehicles the other day—possibly while chatting with the camera crew in the back seat—Portland's police raided a homeless feed with the crew of the TV show COPS on September 10, prompting Street Roots to have a well-justified cow:
Shortly after 5 p.m. on Sept. 10, at the height of the Thursday evening dinner at St. Francis, diners were disrupted by a slew of police and a camera crew who entered from either side of the dining hall with camera’s rolling.
The camera was for the show “Cops,” filming the police pursuit of a man wanted in a homicide. Staffers told the officers the man was not there, but according to people at the scene, the camera kept rolling and officers continued to question diners at the charitable meal for the homeless and poor.
And then there's this non-apology from the Police Bureau's public information officer, Mary Wheat:
“None of that footage is going to be used,” Wheat said. “We’re very sensitive to people being concerned about it. We’re not going to push something like that with the community. It’s not that we feel that we did anything wrong, we’re just trying to be a good partner.”
One word would suffice: "Sorry." But it seems Wheat is incapable of saying it. Street Roots is also running an editorial in tomorrow's issue entitled Police Tactics Undermine City's Work. In this case, particularly, I couldn't agree more. But it's also about how these things are communicated. Perhaps the bureau should hire a public relations firm, just like the Police Association just did.