The mission of the Portland Police Department is to enhance the quality of life throughout the City of Portland by working cooperatively with all of our community members to preserve the peace, enforce the law, reduce fear, and promote a safe and caring environment.
Regional Forensics LaboratoryThe Metro Regional Coalition was formed to pursue collaborative opportunities for Greater Portland area municipalities, and the Regional Forensics Laboratory is the first completed project of the coalition. A workgroup of evidence technicians from the Metro Coalition participants identified significant forensic equipment which would increase their efficiency, capabilities and environment for processing or collecting evidence.
The lab project was paid for proportionately based on the population of the eight communities: Portland, Cape Elizabeth, Falmouth, Scarborough, South Portland, Westbrook, Windham, Yarmouth and Cumberland County.Construction started in October 2008 and was completed in August 2009.
Police work requires a 24/7 presence on the street and officers must be assigned to day, evening, night, weekend, and holiday shifts. For more than 20 years, Portland Police officers worked eight-hour shifts, five days per week. With shifts filled on a seniority basis, only a small number of officers were able to work a Monday-through-Friday schedule. The vast majority of officers worked at least part of the weekend and approximately half worked three weekend shifts. For officers with children or working spouses, the impact on family life was significant. Moreover, approximately 20% of the officers were assigned to a rotating shift which required them to switch from evening to day to night shifts all in the course of a single week. This type of shift work is recognized as being particularly harmful to the health and wellbeing of employees.
In August 2009, Chief Craig convened a committee of officers to research schedule alternatives which would better meet the needs of officers while still providing the necessary coverage. This committee selected a schedule featuring four 10-hour shifts with fixed days off, augmented by a small contingent of officers scheduled to work five 8-hour shifts. The new schedule provides variable coverage dependent on call volume, enables more officers to have at least part of the weekend off, and spares officers from having to work rotating shifts. The police unions and the Chief agreed to adopt the schedule on a six-month trial basis which began in October 2009.
Uniformed Portland Police Officers wore the same wool blend pant sported by U.S. Postal workers for many years. The blue gray pant featured a dark blue stripe down the leg and was considered to be lacking in pockets and difficult to maintain in a wash and wear manner. With the emergence of more wearable fabrics and the quality of the existing pant deteriorating, the officers took on an extensive search to find a more suitable pant. During the summer of 2009, the Department shifted to the new pant which includes ample pockets for storage and is more suited to varying body types. Rather than work through a period of transition in which officers working side by side could be wearing noticeably different uniforms, the Department sought and received grant funds to purchase new pants for all officers so that the transition would be done all at once.
Establishment of the Southern Maine Violent Crimes Task Force
The Task Force was put into place at the Portland Police Department in
service to all of Southern Maine. Our partners are Biddeford, Scarborough, South
Portland, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
of the Task Force is to investigate violent crimes and apprehend those persons who have committed crimes of violence.
A key component of community policing is problem solving and CompStat is an important management and accountability tool for identifying and solving problems. Having worked under William Bratton, the former LAPD Police Chief who perfected the CompStat process in New York City, Chief Craig was well aware of the potential public safety benefits of CompStat, short for Comparative or Computer Statistics. He implemented a version of CompStat in Portland during the summer of 2009.
The Portland Police Crime Analyst runs queries on crime data and generates a weekly CompStat report. The report presents crime and arrest data on week-to-date, prior 30 days, and year-to-date basis. The Chief, uniformed command staff, and detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division review the CompStat data during a weekly meeting, discuss emerging and established crime trends, and develop strategies for reducing crime. This weekly meeting also provides an opportunity to share information between the Detective Bureau and Patrol Division, and enables department leaders to keep abreast of the situation on the street so that they can properly allocate resources to most effectively reduce crime and improve police performance.
Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB)
Noting that the Department’s relationship with the community is critical in realizing the continued success of the Portland Police Department, one of Chief Craig’s first initiatives was the Chief’s new Community Police Advisory Board (CPAB). The Board is comprised of a diverse mix of local residents and community stakeholders including members of the business community, the religious community, the media, the local youth community, and educators. Chief Craig regards direct input from the community as an integral part of his neighborhood policing efforts, and the CPAB provides the means to receive direct communication on city-wide issues.
The CPAB meets monthly to inform the Chief of community concerns and activities, and he, in turn, provides information about pertinent resources as well as information on department efforts. As the group matures, it will disseminate information to the community regarding police strategies and operations and help with prioritizing areas of concern for future efforts. The first three topics that this group chose to tackle were youth connections, graffiti, and absentee landlord related issues. Subcommittees were formed and the Chief looks forward to receiving their reports with recommendations for next steps. There is broad optimism that this new approach to age-old problems will be just what the city needs.Authorized Strengths
1 Assistant Chief
125 patrol officers
Authorized strength is 160
The Department also employs 50 civilian employees that provide various administrative and support functions.
Community Policing Centers
There are community policing centers in the Parkside, West End, Midtown and Munjoy Hill neighborhoods as well as our Portland Housing properties. You can get more information on these centers at http://police.portlandmaine.gov/communitypolicingcenters.asp