At a press conference this morning, Mayor-Elect Sam Adams announced "Commissioner Dan Saltzman will assume the responsibilities as the commissioner in charge of the Portland Police Bureau. I believe this in the best interest of the city."
Sam believes Commissioner Saltzman and Chief Rosie Sizer will be an effective team, bringing expertise and tremendous capability to the bureau.
Sam asserted that in some ways he will be a "non-traditional mayor," emphasizing his intention to focus his efforts on issues only a mayor can tackle. The critical issues of education, economic development, and responsible planning require his focus. If they not addressed, Sam fears "these issues could bring the city down." He intends to serve as a team-oriented mayor by working in partnership with his council colleagues, as well as structuring his own office in teams concentrating on education, the economic development, planning, and transportation.
Commissioner Dan Saltzman was present to reiterate the city's need for our mayor to focus on jobs and economic development, and to accept the assignment. "Safety and security of citizens is one of the most basic responsibilities of the city. Under the leadership of [Chief] Rosie [Sizer], I'm confident the police bureau will lead well into the challenges ahead."
Commissioner Saltzman emphasized that his priorities for the Police Bureau will be child abuse, domestic violence, gang violence, consumer fraud and neighborhood safety. Internally he will focus on the hiring and training of more officers.
Chief Sizer thanked the Mayor-elect for his confidence in her and expressed her confidence in serving under Commissioner Saltzman, commenting that "Commissioner Saltzman has a long history of commitment to the safety of the most vulnerable in our community - children, victims of domestic violence, and the elderly."
Sizer went on to state her appreciation for Commissioner Randy Leonard's interest in public safety, "particularly his efforts to secure extra jail and drug treatment and housing for chronic offenders swirling in the criminal justice system."
Commissioner Adams' remarks:
When I take office as mayor in 2009, Commissioner Dan Saltzman will assume responsibilities as commissioner in charge of the Portland Police Bureau and Rosie Sizer will continue to serve as Chief of Police. I arrive at this decision after careful consideration, and have determined this action to be in the city's best interest.
With crime at a 20-year low and citizens telling us they feel safer than ever, Commissioner Saltzman's steady hand at the helm of police leadership will allow Portland's mayor to focus on the city's most pressing priorities:
• Nearly half our city's eighth graders drop out before receiving a high school diploma. This is an economic and financial time-bomb: dropouts earn on average $300,000 less over their lifetimes than high school graduates. Meanwhile 75% of state prison inmates never graduated from high school.
• Portland is facing local impacts of what some economists fear will be the worst national recession since the Great Depression. It is estimated that up to 30% of Portlanders are trying to make ends meet at a poverty wage job or are unemployed.
• The Portland region expects to attract another one million people in the next 20 years. We lack a plan to guide the strategic investments necessary to house, employ, educate, and transport our soon-to-be new neighbors effectively.
The men and women of the Portland Police Bureau are doing a great job and getting better. Where improvement is needed, Commissioner Saltzman's record demonstrates a willingness and ability to achieve improvement. As mayor I will limit his portfolio of other bureau assignments to ensure Portland has a near full-time police commissioner in a way a mayor could never provide. I have every confidence Dan will succeed.
Dan leads with the discipline of an engineer and the experience of a long-time elected public servant. Commissioner Saltzman's decade of accomplishments and passion for the personal welfare of those in need make him a great fit for police oversight.
Dan is a change agent. As a rookie city commissioner in 1998 he inherited oversight of a Bureau of Emergency Communications that was suffering under absentee leadership. When his demands for workplace improvement went ignored under the protection of unduly broad civil service provisions, he successfully championed a voter-approved change to the city charter making bureau directors more accountable. He led the city's efforts at reform of the Fire Police Disability and Retirement Fund.
This is an important decision for the city. Dan and I both understand the public expects its mayor to be engaged in law enforcement oversight. Our offices are establishing a protocol to ensure I am involved in my capacity as mayor when necessary. I will serve as the commissioner in charge of the Portland Office of Emergency Management and assume all responsibilities should a community emergency occur.
Office of Mayor-Elect Sam Adams