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Portland police bureau (PPB) is the largest law enforcement agency in the State of Oregon, with over 900 full-time sworn officers and 300 civilian employees.
Motto: “Sworn to Protect, Dedicated to Serve”
History: PPB was officially established as a police force in 1870. Before 1870, an elected marshal, with the help of a few deputies, shouldered law enforcement responsibilities in the city. These officers were appointed for a term of 2 years and jobs in the bureau were not permanent until the late 1860s. This Bureau was called Portland Metropolitan Police Force until its name was changed by the Portland City Council. Since its founding, over 28 officers have lost their lives in the line of duty.
Size: The Portland Police Bureau covers an area of around 150 square miles, and is responsible for safeguarding over 650,000 people who reside in its 3 precincts.
Headquarters: 1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
Divisions: The organizational structure of Portland police bureau is quite different from other law enforcement agencies. The bureau is primarily divided into 3 main branches: Investigation branch – which deals with criminal investigations, forensics and detective actions; Services branch – which is responsible for recruiting new officers, training them, providing support facilities for the bureau and maintaining records; and the Operations branch – which is responsible for patrolling, answering calls for service, crowd management, and traffic management. Each branch is headed by an executive officer. The bureau also has 6 specialized units that aid in patrolling and law enforcement.
How to become a deputy: Candidates are required to take up the National Testing Network (NTN) test to qualify for a post in Portland police bureau. This test is divided into 3 sections: a video-based human relations section; a reading ability test section; and a written language ability test section. Candidates must secure a minimum of 65% in the first section, 70% in the second section and 70% in the third section. On passing the test, successful applicants must take the California Psychological Index (CPI) and the Personal History Questionnaire (PHQ). This is followed by a Physical Ability Test (PAT) that tests candidates’ physical strength, endurance, and agility. This is followed by an oral interview that analyses candidates’ competencies in decision making, ability to sympathize with people from different cultures and ethnicities and also their ethics, integrity, and dependability.
Average salary: $66,934-$70,000 annually, rising with experience and responsibility.
Police academy: Once candidates pass the Portland police bureau exam, they join the State of Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) for a 28-week intensive training program. This includes classroom sessions, drills and exercises to acquire certain skills, and scenario-based simulated training.
Registration: Further information about recruitment procedures can be found on the PPB official website. The bureau seeks to recruit the most competent candidates and therefore competition for places within the academy is very high.
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