PORTLAND - The Portland Mayor and police chief decided to step up training and remind officers about the code of conduct required of them, following the investigation into an alleged road rage incident involving an off-duty officer.
A Portland Police traffic captain has been transferred from his duties due to the reported road rage incident in Idaho. The Portland Police Bureau said in a prepared statement, that while on vacation in Idaho, Captain Todd Wyatt was involved in an off-duty incident while driving that involved another driver.
Idaho State Police spokesman Lt. Chris Schenk said the investigation was ongoing. No charges have been filed nor citations issued, he said. About 11 a.m. on Aug. 13, Post Falls, Idaho 9-1-1 dispatchers received a call from an apparent road rage victim, he said. It was unclear what led up to the incident on I-90, he said.
A man driving a blue pickup truck brandished a handgun toward the driver of a second vehicle. Both vehicles had at least one passenger. The pickup driver was pulled over in Spokane by the Washington State Patrol, Schenk said.
This was the seventh incident involving an off-duty Portland police officer in the past 10 months. Four officers have been arrested for drunk driving and two sergeants currently face allegations of off-duty road rage.
These road rage cases, some of the other things that officers have been doing off duty, it is troublesome, said Dan Handelman, with Portland CopWatch. His watchdog group suggested that Portland should take a closer look at the officers they hire.
Mayor Adams, who serves as police commissioner, issued the following statement:
The Portland Police Bureau has hard-working men and women that go beyond what it takes to keep the peace. That is why I take reports of officer behavior, both on- and off-duty, seriously. I met with Chief Mike Reese today regarding a recently reported incident, and we will redouble our efforts to educate and train officers of the Police Bureau s code of conduct. Each case is being investigated and I am confident that there will be a fair and timely conclusion.
His statement does not explain why he refers to the Wyatt incident in the plural, though recently, an Officer Sean Sothern was arrested for DUIIin Tillamook County, one of four Portland police officers arrested for DUII in the last nine months.
Two Portland police officers, Scott Westerman and Kyle Nice, face allegations of off-duty road rage incidents. Westerman was a Portland Police Union president.
Wyatt was temporarily assigned to the Drugs and Vice Division.
The police bureau also issued the following statement:
While on vacation in Idaho, Captain Todd Wyatt was recently involved in an off-duty incident while driving that involved another driver. The incident is being investigated by the Idaho State Police. Due to this investigation and consistent with the Police Bureau's policy and practice, Captain Wyatt's duty assignment has been modified; Captain Wyatt is temporarily assigned to the Drugs and Vice Division, working on projects under the direction of Assistant Chief O'Dea. Lieutenant Eric Schober will be Acting Captain of the Traffic Division during this time. Because this is a pending investigation, the Police Bureau will not be commenting any further on this incident.
Willamette Week profiled Wyatt in 2005.
In that story, Multnomah County Judge Janice Wilson said I have never seen a police officer behave with such arrogance and disrespect.
He told Willamette Week that he was not surprised to find himself characterized by those he encountered as a liar, brute and a racist.
The weekly reported that at the time, Wyatt had more lawsuits against the bureau and any other officer.
The story also said his then mentor, Rosie Sizer, who would eventually become chief, praised his maturity over time. She noted that his rigid style had softened. I think he's grown a lot, she told the paper.