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Survey finds confidence in Bend Police


The majority of Bend residents trust the Bend Police Department and believe the department provides good police services, according to a recent survey conducted by Portland State University.

“We found that residents in Bend feel quite positively toward the local police,” survey authors wrote.

Earlier this year, 4,000 randomly selected households were invited to take the “Community Attitudes Regarding Public Safety in Bend” survey online, and 712 people (17.8 percent) completed it. The questions, similar to a 2017 survey, asked residents their feelings about local police and community safety.

Most respondents rated the Bend Police Department’s performance as good or very good in 2019, particularly in being available when needed and reducing crime, but also in dealing with community concerns and reducing traffic crashes. High ratings increased from 2017, at which time ratings were already positive.

Eight out of 10 people said they trust and/or have confidence in the Bend Police Department, and trust has increased since 2017. Respondents mostly believe that police will handle issues appropriately. And nearly all respondents said they’d cooperate and work with police.

“Building trust was a key item in our 2015-2020 strategic plan,” said Police Chief Jim Porter. “Some of these results reflect our ability to hire additional officers during this last couple of years.”

During a presentation to city councilors Wednesday evening, Porter said the 85 percent confidence level in Bend police is “exceptional” as compared to a national figure in the mid-50 percent range.

The majority of respondents say the department is succeeding at core policing functions and engagement with the community.

Although nine out of 10 people said they feel safe walking alone during the day, fewer people feel safe at night, particular downtown and in parks.

“Council has approved two-year goals that allow us to prioritize downtown and traffic safety. We are aware of the perceptions about safety in parks and will look at ways to improve the community experience,” Porter said. “Council goals also support efforts to connect our residents to resources for mental health issues and homelessness, and we have a Crisis Response Team in place.”

Residents expect a high level of communication with their law enforcement, according to the survey.

“We will work to improve effective and meaningful communication with individuals who have had contact with police,” said Porter. “We are committed to improving our relationships through social media and personal interactions with community organizations and neighborhood groups.”

The survey results and details can be found at .

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