Portland Police Bring Back Traffic Division

Portland, Ore. — The Portland Police Bureau is bringing back its Traffic Division on a limited basis, according to an announcement made by Chief Chuck Lovell on Tuesday. The division will consist of two sergeants, ten motor officers, and two officers in cars, who will work seven days a week on a modified afternoon shift from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. Six officers and one sergeant will be working traffic enforcement each day, with both details working on Wednesdays.

The move comes after the difficult decision made in 2021 to have traffic officers go to precincts to answer 911 emergency calls for service, a decision made due to staffing challenges. However, with the rise in fatal crashes and community expectations for traffic enforcement, Chief Lovell has decided to bring back the Traffic Division.

In 2022, there were 68 total fatal crashes in Portland, the highest since 1987, with 32 of those crashes involving pedestrians, the highest since 1948. The Traffic Division will prioritize DUII detection and investigation, investigate fatal and serious injury crashes, and provide enforcement and education in high-crash areas, focusing on dangerous driving behaviors. Additionally, the officers will mentor and teach new officers traffic enforcement, education, and investigation skills during their Traffic rotation.

The Traffic Division officers will also provide support to precincts with traffic-related calls for service, helping keep roadways safe for all users. While the division will be operating on a limited basis, the move is seen as a positive step towards reducing fatal crashes in Portland.