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PPB Chief Reese joins a shift with downtown bike patrol

PPB Chief Reese joins a shift with downtown bike patrol

PPB Police Chief Mike Reese on bike patrol-9

Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Reese on SW 2nd Ave and Ankeny this morning.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Police Bureau Chief Mike Reese is on bike patrol today.

I follow @chiefreese on Twitter and this morning he mentioned he was out with bike officers today. Then, after a few readers texted me his whereabouts (thanks Ryan and Dee!), I rolled out to track him down. I ended up meeting him and Officer Todd Engstrom near the corner of SW 2nd and Burnside.

The duo was checking on an illegally parked car as I rolled up. Not wanting to interrupt them (and knowing my visit was completely unscheduled), I waited for a chance to chat.

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PPB Police Chief Mike Reese on bike patrol-6

Chief Reese and Officer Todd Engstrom chat with a downtown resident.
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PPB Police Chief Mike Reese on bike patrol-8

A closer look at the bike: a disc-brake equipped Fuji mtb with slick tires.

Given that he competes in triathlons, I knew Chief Reese was no stranger to cycling; but I never knew he was certified for bike patrol. He told me this morning he’s maintained his official certification since 1990. The Chief does one shift a month and this month he chose to ride with Ofc. Engstrom on a “PPI” shift (Portland Patrol Inc., a private security company that partners with the PPB downtown).

While the PPB has nearly 1,000 officers only eight are on regular bike patrol (dozens more have access to bicycles for use during large marches and protests, as we saw during the Occupy Portland events of 2011). There are currently six officers on downtown bike patrol and two assigned to SE Hawthorne Blvd.

Chief Reese is an advocate of bike patrol. “For downtown,” he shared with me this morning, “It’s one of the best ways to address neighborhood livability issues. Both [foot patrol and bike patrol] are a lot more effective way to engage with people and to have a conversation — just like we’re having right now.”

Unfortunately, Reese said that due to budget and operational issues, he doesn’t think we’ll be seeing more cops on bikes any time soon. “We’re so lean as an agency, it’s difficult to envision more officers on bikes,” he said.

According to Reese, the primary reason the bureau doesn’t use more bike officers is their inability to respond to 911 calls. When an emergency call comes in, every officer on a bike means there’s one less officer available to respond. “We’ve got to carve resources from our patrol branch to do this work, and that’s hard to do.”

Officer Todd Engstrom is the self-described “point-man” of the PPB’s bike patrol unit. He’s the main bike instructor for other officers and the PPB recently paid for him to complete the comprehensive, two-week mechanic certification course at United Bicycle Institute (“I got to build a wheel,” he shared this morning, “that was pretty cool!”).

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Officer Todd Engstrom.

Engstrom said most of his job is dealing with low-level livability issues. “We’re just trying to keep downtown clean,” he said. He also has regular run-ins with bike thieves. He knows several who are prolific and each time he sees them he asks about their bikes and runs them through his police radio to see if they’re stolen. “There’s one guy who I see a lot,” he said, “He probably steals 2-3 bikes a day. He can cut them with bolt cutters in a few seconds and then he sells them for $20-30 bucks… and that’s his heroin fix for the day.”

Engstrom is also a big believer in bike patrol, but sees two disadvantages over patrol cars. First, he doesn’t have access to a computer to easily and quickly run the names of suspects. And second, he can’t transport arrestees. When he does make an arrest he has to interrupt another officer with a patrol car to take the person to the justice center for processing (I ran into Portland Pedicabs owner Ryan Hashagen this morning who said he’s had discussion with the PPB about the potential of using a pedicab for this in the future).

“I put my body [person he has arrested] into the patrol car and then ride over to the justice center… And I usually beat them there,” he said with a smile.

The post PPB Chief Reese joins a shift with downtown bike patrol appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Police Chief Mike Reese will compete in Portland Triathlon Sunday

Police Chief Mike Reese will compete in Portland Triathlon Sunday

Portland Police Chief Reese snapped this self-portrait
at the Hagg Lake Triathlon back in July.

Portland Police Chief Mike Reese will be hitting the streets this weekend; but he won’t be in a patrol car. He’ll be in spandex.

Chief Reese will be one of over 1,000 competitors at the seventh annual Portland Triathlon, which takes place on Sunday in St. Johns. In a telephone interview this morning, Chief Reese told us he’s been competing in Triathlons since 1990 and this will be the fourth triathlon he’s participated in this year.

Of the three disciplines in the triathlon, Chief Reese says the bicycling leg is his strongest. But the humble head of Portland’s Police Bureau ads that, “I’m really just average. My strength is that I’m average at everything.”

A southwest Portland resident, Reese said he does his bike training in the hills around his home and spends quite a bit of time pedaling the Springwater Corridor. Another favorite training ride is to head north on Highway 30 and then do the 12-mile loop around Sauvie Island. Marine Drive is another favorite route.

On Sunday, Reese will compete in the Olympic distance event which means he’ll start with a 1.5 kilometer swim, then a 40 km bike ride, and finish with a 10 km run. Reese told us he competes in the “old and slow group.”

As for why he does triathlons, the Chief said he likes the cross-training benefits. “It gives you something new and different to do every day. I have a spin bike at home, so the other day I got on that and did a spin for thirty minutes, then went out and did a run.” He also enjoys training with other officers and friends, including his 20-year training partner, Gresham Police Department Lieutenant Pat Williams.

Triathlons and all the cycle training are also a great way to stay in shape, Reese says.

Portland Triathlon organizer Hilary Johnson said they’re expected a record turnout at Sunday’s event, which is also a USA Triathlon National Championship qualifier. Johnson said triathlon is growing in the Portland area thanks to a strong running and biking culture and the improved water quality of the Willamette River, which is a popular swimming spot.

Johnson doesn’t have anything special planned just because Chief Reese will be among the racers on Sunday. And it seems like the Chief prefers it that way. For someone with such a high-profile public position, Reese is looking forward to blending in. “No one will know its me out there.”

Good luck Chief! And I look forward to bumping into you on a future training ride.

Police Chief Mike Reese will compete in Portland Triathlon Sunday

Police Chief Mike Reese will compete in Portland Triathlon Sunday

Portland Police Chief Reese snapped this self-portrait
at the Hagg Lake Triathlon back in July.

Portland Police Chief Mike Reese will be hitting the streets this weekend; but he won’t be in a patrol car. He’ll be in spandex.

Chief Reese will be one of over 1,000 competitors at the seventh annual Portland Triathlon, which takes place on Sunday in St. Johns. In a telephone interview this morning, Chief Reese told us he’s been competing in Triathlons since 1990 and this will be the fourth triathlon he’s participated in this year.

Of the three disciplines in the triathlon, Chief Reese says the bicycling leg is his strongest. But the humble head of Portland’s Police Bureau ads that, “I’m really just average. My strength is that I’m average at everything.” Reese told us he competes in the “old and slow group.”

A southwest Portland resident, Reese said he does his bike training in the hills around his home and spends quite a bit of time pedaling the Springwater Corridor. Another favorite training ride is to head north on Highway 30 and then do the 12-mile loop around Sauvie Island. Marine Drive is another favorite route.

On Sunday, Reese will compete in the Olympic distance event which means he’ll start with a 1.5 kilometer swim, then a 40 km bike ride, and finish with a 10 km run. The Portland Triathlon course starts at Cathedral Park, then heads north toward on Lombard toward Kelley Point Park then east on Marine Drive to a turnaround at the intersection of North Portland Road.

As for why he does triathlons, the Chief said he likes the cross-training benefits. “It gives you something new and different to do every day. I have a spin bike at home, so the other day I got on that and did a spin for thirty minutes, then went out and did a run.” He also enjoys training with other officers and friends, including his 20-year training partner, Gresham Police Department Lieutenant Pat Williams.

Triathlons and all the cycle training are also a great way to stay in shape, Reese says.

Portland Triathlon organizer Hilary Johnson said they’re expected a record turnout at Sunday’s event, which is also a USA Triathlon National Championship qualifier. Johnson said triathlon is growing in the Portland area thanks to a strong running and biking culture and the improved water quality of the Willamette River, which is a popular swimming spot.

Johnson doesn’t have anything special planned just because Chief Reese will be among the racers on Sunday. And it seems like the Chief prefers it that way. For someone with such a high-profile public position, Reese is looking forward to blending in. “No one will know its me out there.”

Good luck Chief! And I look forward to bumping into you on a future training ride.