Portland Police Bureau Chief Mark Kroeker announced, at a press conference Monday, that he intends to apply for the position of LA police chief which is vacant following the resignation of Bernard Parks at the weekend.
Kroeker, 58, is a 32 year veteran of LAPD who rose to the rank of deputy chief before retiring in 1997. He has twice before sought the top job in LA being rejected in favor of Parks on the last occasion.
After a spell working with the UN police in former Yugolsavia, Kroeker joined the Portland Police Bureau and almost immediately began alienating himslf from both the community and rank & file officers.
In May 2000, a demonstration in downtown Portland degenerated into a riot when cops were "let off the leash," firing pepper spray and bean bag rounds and beating up dozens of peaceful protesters. Kroeker pointedly refused to apologize for the police riot and failed to grasp that crowd control tactics honed in Yugoslavia are not appropriate for a peaceful protest in the "land of the free." City hearings and a vote of confidence saw Kroeker hanging on to his job by the skin of his teeth.
October 2000 saw Kroeker in more hot water when the Portland Alliance newspaper discovered tape recordings of speeches he made to extremist Christian groups during his time in LA. Kroeker made a number of homophobic and sexist remarks more suited to Rush Limbaugh than the police chief of one of the most diverse cities in the US. Again Kroeker refused to apologize, merely stating that he kept his personal views out of his professional life.
Rest assured Kroeker also learnt lessons about police brutality during his time in LA. Kroeker was a senior officer in Ramparts division while it was the most corrupt police unit in America. As deputy chief he was in charge of the San Fernando Valley bureau shortly after the Rodney King beatings and the South bureau shortly after the riots when King's attempted murderers were acquitted.
His time in Portland, with one of the lowest rates for crimes with guns of any major US metro city, has been marked by a number of controversial police shootings. These include an unarmed mentally ill hospital patient and an unarmed assault victim. Kroeker personally apologized to the assault victim in hospital and then held a news conference saying that the officer was not to blame.
So if Los Angeles thinks that it is well rid of Bernard Parks, you had better watch out. If Kroeker comes to town, your gain will be Portland's loss and Portland will be partying!