Virtual town hall introduces candidates for Bend’s new Chief of Police
Amber Reed/ The Broadside
Jim Porter the current Bend police chief has announced his retirement from the police force. The search for his replacement has begun.
A town hall meeting occurred, and community stakeholders were invited to attend and ask candidates questions. Some of these community stakeholders invited included Allyship in Action, Central Oregon Black Leaders Assembly (COBLA), Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, Homeless Leadership Coalition, Thrive Central Oregon, St. Charles and Neighborhood Impact. Following this meeting, community stakeholders and other citizens were invited to take a survey giving their thoughts and opinions on the candidates. All of the information will be used to decide which of the five candidates will be the best fit for the job.
Bend City Major Erik King ran the virtual meeting that took place thurs. June 18. The meeting was held to allow community stake holders to ask questions of the candidates for Bends new chief of police. Attendees of the virtual town hall fluxuated from 45 to 51 throughout the meeting ( not including the candidates). The opening statement addressed the desired outcome of the meeting and what his hopes were for Bend moving forward.
“National events and local voices remind us how important it is to engage our communities in conversations about race and law enforcement, as well as the need to create more opportunities for community problem solving that brings us together.” said King.
King presented the agenda for the meeting, starting with 10 minutes for each candidate to introduce themselves and answer the prompt they were given prior to the meeting.
“How had your background and experience prepared you to be effective in the community, policing, and public safety while ensuring racial equity? Share your direct experience in meaningful community connections building project that is served diverse groups or traditionally underserved communities.” Read the prompt.
The first candidate to speak was Deputy Chief Paul Kansky, currently stationed in Bend. Kansky earned his bachelors degree in business and administration and graduated from the national FBI academy. Kansky has served with the Bend Police Department for 12 years and was recently promoted to Deputy Chief of the department. In response to the prompt Kansky stated
“There’s so many different outlooks, perspectives, and we can all learn from that,” said Kansky.
Kansky closed with a story about his involvement in helping the homeless in Bend and what kind of impact he has been able to have with them on a personal level.
Mike Krantz, Assistant Chief of Services was the next to speak. Krantz currently works for the Portland Police Department and has been a police officer for 27 years. He completed 3,200 hours of training. Krantz specifically about the importance of listening and said
“We want to give people a voice. We want to be neutral. We want to be respectful. We want to be trustworthy, that is our role as law enforcement,” said Krantz.
His personal example of accountability in terms of policing came from his connection to his community through developing panels for marginalized communities. Some of these included a panel for Slavic people, the LGBTQ+ community, African American citizens and Latino people. Krantz began the program three years ago and has been working to expand their reach in the community.
Captain Nick Parker spoke next. Parker currently works for the Bend Police Department. He has attended college seminars about struggles of the LBGTQ+ community and attended Central Oregon Community College’s implicit bias training course Parker focused his introduction on the number of those who are homeless in the community and mental health reform.
Luteniant Brian Beekman is the third candidate. Beekman has been in Central Oregon law enforcement for 20 years, focusing on recruitment to make a more diverse police force and forming relationships within the community. In his introduction he states
“I think we need to get creative. I think that we not only need to reach out to these communities but explain to that that we want them in out organization,” said Beekman.
The fifth and final candidate is Commander of Narcotics and Vice Unit Jason Lando. Lando has been employed with the Pittsburg Police Department for 21 years. He was instrumental in beginning to fix problems in his community by creating the Commander’s Cabinet of Community Leaders Lando expanded training of the department’s employees to include information for officers on how to better involve themselves with people in the community.
“Every single time that an officer has an interaction with someone in the public, no matter how big or how small, that interaction is either going to be viewed as a deposit or withdrawal,” said Lando.
The meeting ended by opening the live chat for stakeholders to ask questions. Moving forward, the candidates will face an interview panel and a decision will be made based on the town hall meetings, the candidates’ background in law enforcement and overall community input.