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Portland police supervisor, husband appear in court for alleged tampering with death investigation

Karen Chirre was arrested alongside her husband, who has been charged with manslaughter and assault charges in connection with an April 2021 homicide.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Appearing in court for the first time on Monday, an employee of the Portland Police Bureau faced charges tied to an apparent cover-up for her husband's alleged involvement in a homicide nearly two years ago.

53-year-old Karen Chirre is an administrative supervisor assigned to PPB's East Precinct. She's been with the agency for 28 years.

In court, Chirre pleaded not guilty to charges of hindering prosecution, tampering with evidence and official misconduct. Both her charges and those against her husband are tied to the April 2021 death of Jack Dekker.

Portland police received a call at about 1:40 a.m. on April 5, 2021, reporting a dead body on the sidewalk outside Providence Park. The deceased man was identified the following day as 58-year-old Jack Dekker.

Dekker, according to the latest from PPB, died as a result of homicidal violence.

Police did not release any further information about the investigation until Friday. In a news release, police said a grand jury had indicted Bruce Chirre, 38, for first degree manslaughter, second degree assault and tampering with physical evidence.

Bruce and Karen Chirre were arrested Friday and booked into the Multnomah County jail.

Bruce Chirre also made his first appearance in court on Monday, entering a not guilty plea on manslaughter and assault charges.

"It's manslaughter and assault, very significant charges," the prosecutor said at Bruce Chirre's hearing. "We believe because of those charges he's a flight risk and that's why we're asking for security of $200,000."

The judge ultimately set bail his bail at $150,000.

Karen Chirre has been on administrative leave from PPB since April 2021. She was out of law enforcement custody on Monday, and was seen wiping away tears as she walked out of the courtroom.

"Police personnel are held to a higher standard," PPB Chief Chuck Lovell said in a statement. "Any time it is alleged that a member of the Police Bureau has acted improperly, we owe it to our community to conduct a complete and thorough investigation. I want to thank the hard work of officers, detectives, criminalists, and other Bureau members for their work investigating this case."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Detective Jennifer Hertzler at Jennifer.Hertzler@police.portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-1040 or Detective Rico Beniga at Rico.Beniga@police.portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-0457 and reference case number 21-90461.

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