Police Command Shake Up

New chief takes oath and makes changes

Cervante Pope | 6/28/2016, 2:27 p.m.
Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea will be replaced by Captain Mike Marshman, Mayor Charlie Hales announced Monday.
Mike Marshman was named Portland’s new police chief Monday. A former captain in the Police Bureau, he most recently oversaw the implementation of reforms combating police use of excessive force against people with mental illness. (KPTV photo)

Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea will be replaced by Captain Mike Marshman, Mayor Charlie Hales announced Monday.

The move came one day after O’Dea indicated he would retire after 30 years with the Police Bureau. The decision came as O’Dea faces an investigation into an accidental shooting of a friend during a hunting trip in Harney County of eastern Oregon last April.

“We are still waiting for the outcomes of investigations before passing judgment,” Hales said at a City Hall press conference. “But we have urgent needs — police reform, staffing shortages — that must be addressed by leadership. Now is the time for the bureau to make a fresh start.”

Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner, representing the bureau’s rank-and-file officers, welcomed the departure and embraced Marshman as the new chief.

“For the past few weeks, we have watched as the Bureau suffered under Larry O’Dea’s lack of leadership and ownership of his actions,” Turner said. “We needed a police chief to lead us with strength and integrity. Larry O’Dea was not that person.”

Marshman took the oath of office Monday and in one of his first actions named three new assistant chiefs and reassigned more than a dozen other officers to new positions within the Bureau.

Three former assistant chiefs under investigation for not calling for an internal inquiry when O’Dea revealed the shooting to them were demoted, and former Acting Chief Donna Henderson, also under investigation for keeping quiet, will retire.

Marshman, a 25-year Portland police veteran most recently served as the Bureau’s intermediary to the U.S. Department of Justice, specifically overseeing the implementation of reforms combating police using excessive force against people with mental illnesses, per a mandated settlement of a 2012 federal lawsuit.

“The bureau is grappling with staffing shortages. It must continue to move forward on reform. Mike Marshman is known as a deliberate and thoughtful leader, and is an expert on the reform agreement. He is the right leader to stabilize the bureau and continue making progress on our reform goals,” Hales said.

Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler issued a statement supporting Marshman’s capabilities, but indicated he still wanted a national search for a new police chief when he takes over as mayor in January, indicating he would welcome Marshman to apply for the position.

“Mike Marshman is a quality choice to fill the role of Portland Police Chief. I expect him to bring stability to the department and begin to address the significant public safety issues that exist in our community,” said Wheeler. "The working relationship between a Mayor and Police Chief is among the most important, and I look forward to continuing to build my relationship with Chief Marshman in the months ahead.”

Marshman said he intends to focus on three main goals during his time as chief: Building community trust, reestablishing trust within the bureau, and continuing to focus on the DOJ settlement mandates.

In his retirement statement, O’Dea maintained he did nothing wrong in the shooting incident.

“Larry O’Dea did not have alcohol on his breath nor was he impaired or intoxicated. He did not purposely point his gun at any person and did not knowingly discharge a firearm in the direction of his lifelong friend,” read a statement sent by his lawyer, Derek Ashton.

“Looking forward, he is confident that the Oregon State Police and State Department of Justice will very soon conclude a professional and competent investigation of this camping accident that will clear up gross misstatements of facts contained in early reports,” the statement reads.