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Portland Police Bureau gets 19 new officers as retirement wave nears

This brings the Bureau’s number of sworn officers to 806 — down from 881 last year, but up from its record low of 773 in September 2022

By Catalina Gaitán

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland’s police chief on Thursday handed out badges to 19 new officers, who join 109 others undergoing 18 months of training before they can work independently and patrol city streets.

Thursday’s ceremony brought the bureau’s number of sworn officers to 806 – down from 881 last year, but up from its record low of 773 in September 2022.

The Portland Police Bureau hopes to hire at least 80 officers total in 2024, so they could fill 75 existing vacancies and help replace a wave of employees expected to retire this year, according to police spokesperson Terri Wallo Strauss . More than 100 sworn members are eligible to retire this year, but not all of them necessarily will, Strauss said.

The city’s goal is to maintain 881 cops on the city’s payroll but staff departures, including from retirements and resignations, are making it hard for the Police Bureau to reach its target.

An increasing number of resignations over the past four years has made it difficult for the Police Bureau to predict how many officers it will have in the near future, Strauss said. Officers hired after 2007 have portable pensions because they fall under the state’s Public Employees Retirement System instead of the city’s Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Plan, allowing them to resign before they are eligible for retirement and take a public employee job elsewhere in Oregon without penalty to their pensions.

The bureau has streamlined its hiring process and offered new perks to recruit more cops, including by reimbursing people up to $10,000 in moving expenses, the agency said in a statement Thursday.

RELATED: How the Portland Police Bureau is rebuilding its ranks

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