Two years after the Portland auditor’s office warned the local police department that it was far behind other cities in solving sex crimes, the auditor says he sees little evidence they had done much to improve, The Oregonian reports. “Frankly, we weren’t very impressed,” said city Auditor Gary Blackmer. Now, six weeks after releasing the results of a second, much more detailed audit into why Portland police do a poor job of solving sex crimes — Blackmer worries his office is encountering much the same attitude that it did in 2005.
Mayor Tom Potter and Police Chief Rosie Sizer have officially welcomed the audit and pledged to improve, but Blackmer says among the police rank and file he’s encountering an unwillingness to believe the findings and a reluctance to change. “They feel like we’re picking on them,” said Blackmer, adding that he’d hoped the entire bureau would use the audit’s findings to try to better its performance instead of becoming defensive. The report released in June said some sexual-assault victims wait weeks or even months before a detective contacts them. The report identified what it said was, at best, sloppy documentation and, at worst, detectives who failed to pursue suspects, even though victims told police who attacked them. Sgt. Rich Austria, who has overseen the sex-crimes unit since September, said his detectives feel bruised by the audit. “Some of them took it as they’re not doing their job,” he said.