Portland Police Neighborhood Response Team launches pilot program aimed at solving community crime

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police arrested a man this week accused of threatening people by pointing what appeared to be a gun out his apartment window on West Burnside Street more than once. The bureau said officers were able to tackle the case because of a new pilot program aimed at solving community crimes more efficiently.

Officers took Robert Farris, 66, into custody and charged him with menacing, unlawful use of a weapon and possession of meth. They seized a pellet gun consistent with witness descriptions of a weapon.

“Our mission, our goal is to address chronic community safety issues and livability issues,” said Sgt. Matthew Jacobsen, who is assigned to the Central Precinct Neighborhood Response Team.

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Jacobsen said one of those safety issues came to his attention a couple weeks back: two police reports, one from November and another from January, detailing a similar crime. Victims told police a man pointed what they believed was a large gun through his window and threatened them after they parked in a parking lot next to his apartment.

“It’s a concerning issue, not just for the three victims in this case, but for everybody in the area,” he said.

The pilot program pairs a detective with officers from the neighborhood response team.

“The goal of this is to test and see how having the investigative resources of a detective integrated with the boots on the ground officers in the neighborhood response team really affects our efficiency when it comes to these types of investigation,” said Jacobsen.

The Portland Police Bureau has done this in the past, but Jacobsen said the bureau is trying again to see if there’s meaningful change to address more complex neighborhood problems.

“This time is just to see if given the current state of Portland, the state of the bureau and the resources that we have, if it works and it makes sense,” he said.

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